DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 40s. Last year, we decided to make a very big change in our lives. We decided to seek out a second wife (sister wife) for my husband. I was completely on board with it at first. He reached out to a woman he knew years ago and asked if she would consider joining our family. However, I started getting this feeling that she wasn’t the right woman to bring into our family. She ignored many of my in-depth questions about why she wanted to live this type of life.
I have expressed to my husband that I no longer want her in my life and it has reached the point that I no longer want to live a plural lifestyle. I felt bad that I’m the one who changed my mind, so I agreed to allow them to continue a relationship — as long as they keep me out of it, and he keeps her out of my home and my life.
I don’t understand how he can continue living this way, living two separate lives and be OK with it. We’ve been together more than 20 years and I don’t want to leave, but how can I continue loving a man with my whole heart and soul when he only loves me with part of his?
— SISTER WIFE
DEAR WIFE: Relationships such as you describe can work out when all three of the parties involved feel they are equally valued. Some women tolerate their husband having someone “on the side” because they derive some benefit beyond the emotional connection one associates with marriage. That said, in the final analysis, the only person who can answer the question you’re asking me is you.
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DEAR ABBY: I am an 11-year-old girl. My 16-year-old sister has severe depression and an eating disorder. She has been to the hospital twice because of it, and now she has to go to the hospital every day to get her to eat more. Even though people are helping her, I don’t think she’s getting better. It makes me feel worried and sad.
My mom has me seeing a therapist, and she helps me to feel better, but it’s still hard knowing my sister is having such a hard time. I have never dealt with anything this hard in my life. I wish I could just not have to always think about how sad I am. I really want everything to be normal. Can you tell me ways to not get so upset about everything that’s going on?
— HAVING A HARD TIME IN IOWA
DEAR HAVING A HARD TIME: I’m glad you are seeing a therapist you can talk to about your sadness and worry. Being able to discuss them with someone you trust and who isn’t emotionally involved can be a blessing.
I do have a suggestion that might help you in addition to your therapy. Participate in sports activities and hobbies that keep your mind occupied. If you keep yourself busy, you will have less time to dwell on your sadness and worry. And please, write me again in a couple of months and let me know how you are doing, because I’m hopeful you will be feeling better than you do right now.