DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 24 years and have two daughters, 18 and 14. I’m in a business with my husband and work six days a week. We don’t take vacations, go on date nights or spend time together outside of work.
I have had my own bedroom for 15 years because he needs his sleep (he is 15 years older). Our sex life ended two years ago because he says I’m too heavy. (I should lose 40 pounds and so could he.) I do my best to take care of dentist and doctor appointments for the kids, cook healthy meals, prepare for the holidays, drive school carpool, etc.
I feel unappreciated, taken for granted and trapped. He complains that I’m not giving him attention, but then he’ll comment on my appearance or criticize me for small tasks that I didn’t do “his” way.
I’m tired and overworked. Is it wrong to want to divorce him and be free of this loveless marriage? I cannot picture living this boring, unfulfilling life for the next five or 10 years. I have fantasized about a life without him every single day for the last year.
I don’t claim to be perfect — I’m patient and easygoing to a fault. But he has had two affairs and blames me for them. I have been here for the business and the kids, but what about me? I have been going to night school to take up nursing as a new career to support myself as a backup plan.
I know what I need to do, but I guess I’m looking for validation. There’s got to be more to life than what I’m living.
— FED UP IN MICHIGAN
DEAR FED UP: I agree. That you think you will be happier apart from a spouse who deprives you of companionship and affection, cheats, blames you for it and criticizes you regularly is understandable. Under these circumstances, your feelings are valid. However, before making any announcements, schedule an appointment with an attorney who can guide you in what steps to take to protect yourself.
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DEAR ABBY: “Cheryl” has been one of my best friends for a very long time. She has helped me through many issues and even some depression over the years, as I have done for her. We live several states apart and talk on a daily basis. Neither of us is dating now, although we both use dating apps and websites.
Lately, Cheryl has been asking me to help her sort through her messages. It has become torture for me because I have begun having romantic feelings for her. I don’t know if it would be fair to tell her how I feel about her because of the geographical distance. I know she won’t move to be with me because she helps to take care of her father, who lives with her.
I wouldn’t have an issue with moving there, but I don’t want to make that decision unless I know her feelings are similar. I also don’t want to risk losing a friend. I’m not sure if I should just bury these feelings and say nothing, or let her know. Please help.
— CONFLICTED IN TENNESSEE
DEAR CONFLICTED: The first thing you should tell your friend is that you are not comfortable sorting through her messages. When she asks you why, explain that after these many years of best friendship, you have begun to develop romantic feelings for her. How she reacts will help you to determine what — if anything — to do next. Right now, you are in limbo. She may or may not reciprocate your feelings. But if she doesn’t, you will be emotionally free to find love elsewhere.