DEAR ABBY: I was married for 19 years and have three adult daughters from that marriage. I remarried eight years ago to a woman who has two adult children. My relationship with them is not good, in spite of my efforts to engage them in basic conversation. She told me recently that neither one of them likes me. In fact, she has suggested I just say hello and goodbye and leave it at that.
I’m not sure what I am supposed to do with this information. I don’t think at this point in my life (age 66) I’m interested in changing myself to coax anybody to like me. I’m irritated with my wife for telling me her kids don’t like me. If any of my daughters said, “I don’t like your wife,” I wouldn’t mention it to her because I know she wouldn’t want to go with me to visit them. My desire to visit either of her kids is now nonexistent. Your thoughts?
— Unliked in Ohio
DEAR UNLIKED: I think it is interesting that your wife didn’t tell you WHY her children don’t like you, or if she did, that you didn’t elaborate. Under the circumstances, your reaction is understandable, so stay home and enjoy yourself while your wife visits them. If you do, I suspect you will all be happier.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and went away for a long weekend. Late in the second day, my wife said, “Don’t get mad at me, but a guy who works for me asked me to bring him a souvenir.”
Then she told me she didn’t want to get me involved.
My question is, why wouldn’t she mention it at the start of the trip and instead bring it up two days into our getaway? It makes me feel like she was thinking of him on our anniversary. Am I reading too much into this, or should I be concerned? By the way, I wouldn’t think of another woman — co-worker or not — during a getaway with my wife.
— Unsure in the West
DEAR UNSURE: Please stop worrying. If you and your bride have had a happy marriage for 30 years, I’m guessing that on your special day, she was thinking about how lucky the two of you are to have had three blessed decades together. If she had anything to hide, she wouldn’t have mentioned the souvenir. I’m guessing she brought it up because she didn’t want to forget she had agreed to bring something and come home empty-handed.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of 12 years worries me. He’s a man who wants life to be like he wants it to be, not like it is. He thinks everyone owes him a discount on whatever he’s buying. He can talk for what seems like a month, and while he never really lies, he never exactly tells the truth. This puts a huge strain on our relationship.
I love him, but I don’t trust him. I have caught him in many discrepancies. When confronted, he sometimes will own up to them. What should I do?
— Nervous in North Carolina
DEAR NERVOUS: I think in your heart you already know what you should do. If you can’t trust someone, there is no basis for a meaningful relationship. I wish you had written me about this 11 1/2 years ago, when ending the romance would have been less painful.