Dear Abby: Woman I adore thinks we won’t work as a couple

Even though he’s married and the woman he’s seeing on the side hasn’t said she loves him, man can’t stand the thought of losing her.

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DEAR ABBY: I am married, but my wife and I are unhappy and have been for years. We grew apart after 17 years. We tried counseling multiple times; it only reinforces the decision to divorce. I have had two affairs. One lasted six months; the other on and off for the past nine months.

The latter lady, “Gayle,” and I have an amazing connection in our lifestyles and beliefs. We even have the same birthday. It’s undeniable. We also have chemistry like no other. The problem is, she doesn’t think we will work. We take breaks, which only lead her to want to see me weeks later.

I have professed my love for her and, while she hasn’t said it back, everything points to it. When we are intimate, she cries and tells me how much I mean to her. Gayle is strong-willed, independent and lives her life on her terms. When she makes a decision, it’s final. But not with me — she keeps coming back. I have written her numerous letters declaring my love for her. I get lost in her eyes. I don’t want to lose her. Any advice? — DESPERATE IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR DESPERATE: Granted, you and Gayle may have amazing chemistry and other things in common, including birthdays. However, relationships are supposed to be mutual. As you have described it, this one is entirely on Gayle’s terms, and she hasn’t told you she loves you. Could it be because you are still married?

You have important issues to straighten out before you can have an open relationship with Gayle. One of them is whether you are ready to end your unhappy marriage. Once you are a free man, Gayle may be more forthcoming and available. If not, your romance wasn’t meant to be anything more than an exciting interlude. Before pinning your hopes on Gayle, it’s imperative to take control of your own life.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 12 years. Both of us were widowed. My husband has a cemetery plot next to his first wife. In a nearby city, I have a cemetery plot next to my first husband, which includes a combined headstone with my name already engraved. Our plan was to leave it to our children to make the arrangements when the time comes, but we realize it may not be fair to them.

We both believe funerals are for the living and not for the dead, but I don’t think it’s fair to ignore my new husband’s last name in my final resting place. Neither do I want to negate my relationship of 23 years with my first husband. What would be the proper way to resolve this so none of our children feel disrespected in relation to their parents? We all have close relationships with each other. — PERPLEXED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR PERPLEXED: The first thing to do is discuss this dilemma with your children and explain your wishes. Then contact the cemetery and inquire about adding your married name to the existing headstone or purchasing a new headstone for your eventual final resting place. It’s certainly worth asking.

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.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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