Dear Abby: My boyfriend has a roommate, and it’s his ex

Woman feels the relationship cannot progress until the former girlfriend moves out of his living room.

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DEAR ABBY: For the last 14 months, I’ve been in a relationship with a man I adore. Things have been great. There’s just one problem, though, that really bothers me. He rents a room (his living room, actually) to his ex-girlfriend.

In the beginning, I didn’t feel I had the right to say anything about it, and he assured me she would eventually move. Well, now we can’t even discuss the issue without getting upset. He says it’s financial. I say he could find another roommate. I suspect he’s just making excuses. I don’t think we can move forward in our relationship with this baggage in our way. I need some advice. — THIRD WHEEL IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR WHEEL: Actually, I’m not sure you need my advice because your thinking is crystal clear. This man COULD find another “roommate” if he was so inclined. My intuition tells me he may be getting more from his “ex”-girlfriend than rent money. I completely agree that your relationship won’t move forward with that “baggage” in the way. That’s why it’s time to ... move on.

DEAR ABBY: I am widowed after 45 years of marriage. A male work friend of 20 of those years wants to have a relationship with me but he’s still married. We have already had incredible phone sex because he said he’s in a sexless marriage. I enjoy our long conversations. He lives up north and I reside in Florida, so we won’t meet in person. Since his wife refuses him sex and because he has been attracted to me from the day we met at work 20 years ago, what do you think about our continued phone sex? — GOOD CALL IN FLORIDA

DEAR GOOD CALL: To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “A rose is a rose by any other name.” So is adultery. If, after having had 45 years of a presumably happy marriage, your goal might be to form a relationship that possibly leads to cohabitation, I would urge you to find someone who’s available, rather than settle for phone sex that will lead nowhere with someone who’s unavailable.

DEAR ABBY: Is there a polite way to ask my neighbor where his wife is? I’ve lived in a neighborhood for four years where most people keep to themselves. During COVID, I noticed this female neighbor taking multiple walks each day. I introduced myself and sometimes came across her on my walk. She was pleasant but didn’t seem interested in being “friendly.” She was ALWAYS on her phone every time she left the house. They have a young, teenage daughter who sometimes walked with her mom.

I haven’t seen the woman in more than a year. The daughter and dad sometimes walk together with the dog. My reason for wanting to know is to understand their circumstance — did she pass away, did she leave her husband? It’s like she simply vanished. — CONCERNED NEIGHBOR IN A SMALL TOWN

DEAR CONCERNED: The next time you see the husband say, “I used to see your wife walking so often. I haven’t seen her in about a year. How is she?”

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.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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