Presence of new girlfriend causes added pain for ex

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of two years, "Kevin," recently broke up with me. We've had problems in the past about me lying to him or withholding information. I didn't lie because I'm an awful person. I lied because he had high expectations of me, and I didn't want to be a disappointment. He is truly the first person I have loved unconditionally since the breakup with my child's father five years ago.

Kevin and I are still friends — sometimes with benefits — but he has moved on to another woman. I'm heartbroken, and it has taken a toll on me. When I visited him the other day, I realized that she has practically moved in! She has her toiletries over there just like I did at one point.

I really want my boyfriend back! Kevin and I had talked about a life together, buying a house, taking trips, even getting married, the whole nine yards. But I'm worried this new woman will get the life with the man I love that I had been longing for for so long. What advice, if any, can you offer me? -- LEFT BEHIND IN ALABAMA

DEAR LEFT BEHIND: I'm sorry to be the carrier of bad news, but it appears your ex-boyfriend is enjoying the benefits of being with two women, and you are getting your heart broken. It is time for you to move on because a new "chick" has all but moved into the nest you shared with Kevin.

One has to wonder if she is aware that he has a FWB in addition to her. (I am betting the answer is no.) And by the way, I have to wonder what kind of a man behaves the way you have described because he is not treating you or this new woman honestly.

In your next relationship, I hope you will realize that you are good enough just as you ARE, and there is no reason you must live up to anyone else's expectations. That was your mistake this time around.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of 10 years (we own a house together) has just announced he feels he should move closer to his ailing mother. She lives about 250 miles away, a four-hour drive. Is this a thing? Do people do this? He did not ask me to move with him.

We live less than a mile from my own elderly mother, and I do dote on her. He knows I wouldn't leave her. If he goes through with this, I'll be heartbroken.

We have no mortgage. I can afford to stay in our house and — then what? Wait for him? Wait for his mother to die? I could visit him once in a while, but my job, my mom and our cats are here. There's also my yard work. Do you think this could be his oddball way of breaking things off? — MISERABLE OVER THIS IN MICHIGAN

DEAR MISERABLE: This could be your boyfriend's attempt to end your relationship — or not. He may not have invited you to move with him because he understands how many obligations you have between your mother, your job, your pets and the upkeep of your home.

It's time to ask him — calmly — how he views the implications of this move. Does he see it the same way you do? If his mom's health improves, it could be years before he returns, if ever. Because you have invested a decade of your life with him, you deserve some straight answers, and the best way to get them is to remain calm and be direct.

DEAR ABBY: Three months ago, my husband ran into a second cousin he hadn't seen in 40 years. They were close for a short time during high school and saw each other a couple times after that.

I was not aware until recently that he had looked her up on social media and has been communicating with her every day since then. I didn't think much of it when he did tell me -- until one night when he stayed on the computer with her until 3 a.m.

He has lied to me about the number of times he has been online with her and, if she calls or texts, he tells me it is someone else. She sent him pictures -- which I saw -- yet he denied receiving them. One time he forgot to sign off on a message he sent and, of course, I read it. To my shock, he was confiding a lot of things he has done while married to me that I was unaware of. It hurt me deeply, and I told him so.

Recently I was in the hospital. When I called him a couple of times at night, he claimed he didn't pick up because he was "tired." I found out later he was on the computer with her.

I have asked him more than once why this relationship is so private, and he says they are just friends. But when I asked to see some of the things he has written to her, he refused to show me. I said fine, then I will ask her. Well, he blew up!

When I told him it hurts me that he spends so much time with her in the evening, he didn't give an answer. Am I overreacting? If so, can you please tell me how to settle down and deal with what is happening? -- COUSIN TROUBLE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR COUSIN TROUBLE: You are not overreacting. It's time to do what you said you were going to do -- call the woman and ask her what has been going on. After she fills you in, ask yourself if you still want to be married to a man who has cheated on you emotionally and probably physically.

If you feel there is any hope of saving your marriage, offer your husband the option of seeing a marriage and family therapist together. However, knowing he has no compunction about lying to you or any respect for your feelings, you might prefer to simply consult a lawyer about what your next steps should be.

DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old woman. My parents are divorced. My father says I should be out having fun and I owe no explanations to anyone. My mother, on the other hand, is very strict. I respect her wishes and don't do what most people my age would do. I try to be very careful with what I say in any conversation with her, but it always ends up with her very angry toward me. I want to live my life or at least try to. What do I do? -- CLUELESS TEEN IN TEXAS

DEAR TEEN: An 18-year-old should be carefree and engaged in self-discovery. But people of every age are having to hunker down and curtail their social activities these days because their lives could depend on it. And as to owing no explanations to anyone, until you are self-supporting and on your own, you will have to be accountable.

Your mother may be feeling insecure because her daughter is now a young adult rather than her little girl who needs protecting. She may also be reacting to the "advice" your dad is doling out. You are going to have to figure out what triggers your mother's anger during those conversations and find a happy medium.