DEAR ABBY: I have recently discovered that for the last seven years — or more — my husband has been lying to avoid conflict. What he has been lying about greatly upsets me, but knowing he has lied about these things makes it worse than finding out the truth at the time things happened.
The lies are about his relationships with his female “friends.” He has always had a wandering eye. He has lied so many times that I’m wondering what else he has lied about that I don’t know about. I find out because he tells on himself without realizing what he has said.
I am now questioning our whole life together. We have been together 31 years, and I’m thinking our entire marriage has been built on his lies. When I confront him about it, he says he “never said it,” but he did. How do I live with a lying spouse? — LIED TO IN GEORGIA
DEAR LIED TO: Solid marriages are built on trust. Unfortunately, yours is lacking in that department. Your first task is to determine whether you WANT to remain married to a lying husband who attempts to gaslight you by denying he said something you clearly heard.
It would be in your best interest to schedule some sessions with a licensed counselor who can help you to gain enough emotional strength to make that decision rationally rather than emotionally. If you decide to end your marriage, discuss this with an attorney BEFORE informing your husband so he or she can guide you in the process.
DEAR ABBY: I am the oldest of four children. I’m closest with my youngest sibling, “Louanne.” I have not had a relationship with the other sister, “Emily,” for close to 10 years. I tried to reach out a few times and was rejected or received cold responses. My feelings toward Emily have grown numb.
Emily now has some mental issues, and Louanne, who does have a relationship with her, helps her almost to the extreme. She’s now talking about relocating Emily from South Carolina to New Jersey, and wants my help arranging it. Until two weeks ago, Emily lived on her own as she had for many years. She’s had some ups and downs, but Louanne is treating this as though Emily is no longer able to care for herself.
I’m having a hard time feeling compassion for Emily, and Louanne is upset with me because I don’t want to help. It’s destroying our relationship. I tried to explain my feelings to her, but she keeps reminding me that this is about “family,” so I need to put my feelings aside. I feel torn and alone. Any advice? — CHALLENGED IN THE EAST
DEAR CHALLENGED: It might help to view this from a different perspective. Although you are distant from Emily, who you acknowledge has mental problems, you are close to Louanne. If you maintain your current stance and refuse to help Louanne, the entire responsibility of relocating Emily will fall on her shoulders, and it is quite a load. You would be doing a good deed by helping Louanne with this burden she has assumed and, if you regard it this way, it may make taking on that responsibility easier for HER.
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.
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.)