DEAR ABBY: I am a healthy, single, 76-year-old man. I spend lots of time at a local gym. I met a woman there two years ago, and we went out for coffee. She’s a few years younger than I am. She told me she was married, but it was a “complex” marriage. What started as a friendship morphed into an intimate affair.
We have many common interests and spend as much time as we can together, given the circumstances. I know she will never get divorced. I’ve fallen in love with her, but I have never pressured her to divorce. She has grown children, and she doesn’t want to upset them. I get it. There are also financial considerations and entanglements.
Over the last six months, our relationship has become strained. It has turned into a push-pull type of situation. I know it’s unhealthy for both of us, but I can’t seem to let her go. We’ve come to the brink several times, but we always have talked through it, and we keep limping along. I don’t know how to stop loving her. Even thinking about it causes me great mental distress. I’m looking for suggestions to ease the pain and figure out how to move on. — LOVING A MARRIED WOMAN IN MAINE
DEAR LOVING: Because thinking about it causes you great mental distress, go cold turkey. You deserve more than to be someone’s side dish, but in order to find a more fulfilling relationship, you must let this woman go and allow her to focus on her “complex” marriage. Then, keep yourself busy, join another gym, avoid places where the two of you used to hang out and get back into the swing of life.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for six years. He is wonderful. We became engaged last year. His family has been nice to me, but on holidays, I dread bringing a dish or dessert because none of them touch whatever I bring. It’s insulting and hurtful. I end up upset and toss it in the trash.
I come from a large family. My parents immigrated from the Philippines, and I look forward to our family holiday celebrations. We all cook, appreciate and enjoy each dish or dessert we bring. I don’t know if my fiance’s family is afraid to try my cooking even though I make common, simple, American dishes.
He doesn’t see the big deal when I raise the subject with him. My sisters all say I should stop bringing anything. Am I too sensitive? Is it worth taking anything to these gatherings? — HURT COOK IN KENTUCKY
DEAR COOK: Ask whoever is hosting these family get-togethers what the problem may be. It may have nothing to do with your cooking, and more to do with the fact they are set in their ways when it comes to holiday celebrations. I have to say I agree with your sisters. Rather than waste the food, give it to a friend or relative who might enjoy it, keep it for yourself and your fiance, or bring nothing more than a little “host” gift with you. Assorted nuts come to mind.
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.