Dear Abby: With mother-in-law living here, I refuse to work from home

Man feels his wife cares more about her nosy, bigoted mother than about him, and he’d rather drive 75 miles each day to get out of the house

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DEAR ABBY: I am contemplating asking my wife for a divorce. Her 86-year-old mother lives with us. After she moved in, I quickly realized that her mother is a bigot, is nosy and has little to no respect for my wife. I could go on and on. Agreeing to her mother moving in was the worst mistake of my life. I avoid her like the plague now.

I can work from home full time, but prefer to drive 75 miles a day to get out of the house. Her mother needs more care now than can be provided at home. However, my wife wants to bring someone in a few days a week, since I no longer work from home. She’s just delaying the inevitable.

I believe her mother is more important to her than I am and, if that’s the case, I can’t change her mind. Aside from this, we have a great marriage. I don’t want to lose what I have, but I am prepared to walk away. Advice? — HATES THE HOUSEGUEST

DEAR HATES: I do have some. If assisted living is in your mother-in-law’s future, it would be kinder to have her take up residency soon, while she’s capable of adjusting to it rather than postponing it until there is an emergency. You are long overdue for a frank and not very pleasant conversation with your wife about how you feel you rank on her list of priorities. Feeling as you do, it may be your only chance of saving your marriage.

DEAR ABBY: I met a man, “Gabe,” 30 years ago. We had a very good time together. We dated some and even traveled occasionally. I liked him a lot but, when we met, I was divorced and looking for marriage. He was not. I moved for my job, and met and married someone else. Gabe did call to keep in touch for several years, but the calls stopped. I never forgot him.

My husband passed away four years ago, and then COVID hit. Feeling the loneliness of lockdown, I wrote letters to people I hadn’t heard from in years. Gabe’s was one such letter. He called me after he received it, and we reconnected. We have enjoyed each other’s company off and on since then.

I would love to have a deeper relationship with him. Unfortunately, he regards me as nothing more than a friend. He is intelligent, quick-witted, well-traveled and still very handsome. I enjoy his company very much. I’ve wanted to tell him how I feel, but I don’t want to jeopardize what we have together. So here I am, now in my 60s, feeling lost and not knowing how to handle my desire to be with him. What do you think? — LONG HISTORY IN FLORIDA

DEAR HISTORY: If you are looking for more than you already have with Gabe, you are wasting your time. Gabe is satisfied with the relationship just as it is. If he wasn’t, believe me, he would have mentioned it. If what you need is someone to “nest” with, you will have to look elsewhere. Sorry, he isn’t it.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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