DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married to my husband, “Derrick,” for 32 years. We consider each other to be our best friend, except he refuses to allow me to see or use his iPad. (He has it password-protected.)
Derrick and I have been together since high school and have maintained a very good relationship. I’m not sure why it bothers me so much that he refuses to let me see his text messages or emails. I don’t think he’s cheating, but my intuition is sending me warning signals that this can’t be good. Should I be concerned, and should I confront him? — OPEN BOOK IN NEW YORK
DEAR OPEN BOOK: Has Derrick always been this territorial, or is his secretiveness something fairly recent? If it’s the latter, then your intuition is telling you something important and you should be concerned. Before you “confront” him, ask yourself what you intend to do if your worst fears are realized, and be prepared for that. Once that’s done, tell your husband what you have told me — that hiding his texts and emails has made you afraid he has been straying, and you need reassurance.
P.S. In the 33 years my late husband and I were together, I never, ever felt the need to look at his wallet, his mail or email, or phone because he never gave me reason to. He was always very open, and told me I was welcome to. The reverse was also true. Neither of us kept secrets from the other. That is what I would wish for you and Derrick.
DEAR ABBY: My 80-year-old mother has always been “difficult.” She’s always the victim/martyr and creates drama by fabricating lies, spreading half-truths and embellishing. I have very little contact with her (maybe a text once a month). During a recent physical examination, she was screened for dementia. She passed every test with flying colors.
I am retired, and my husband will be retiring soon. We are considering moving out of state, but I am getting a lot of pushback about it from her friends and a few extended family members. I feel my husband and I have worked hard and deserve to retire wherever we see fit.
How do I respond to people trying to heap guilt on me for “abandoning my elderly parent”? I would like a snappy comeback to their comments. — FLEEING IN ILLINOIS
DEAR FLEEING: It seems there is never a shortage of “concerned” individuals speaking out about things that are none of their business. I vote for telling them the truth with no sugar coating: “Mom and I have never been close. Our communication is infrequent and usually in the form of a monthly text. Her doctors say she’s in excellent health, and we are not worried. This move is something my husband and I have planned for a long time. I’m sure that if anything changes with her you will let me know, and we will handle it then.” Period.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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