DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 14 years to a man a lot of people in our town think has no flaws. He helps a lot of people, and he is also a pastor, but he ignores me and takes me for granted, personally, emotionally and sexually. He’d rather watch TV until he falls asleep on the couch.
He looks at pornography online, and I catch him often. Even if he’s busy at work, he finds time for everybody but me. He always has excuses.
Since I married him, I have supported him and have gone the extra mile in all aspects — his work, church activities. I have waited on him and made sure all his needs were met. Now I have reached the end of the line, and I want to leave. But if I do, people who know him will make me the villain.
Although we still live under one roof for financial reasons, now I separate myself from him, look after him less and sleep in another room with my dog. Please, Abby, give me your views. — DONE WITH IT IN MAINE
DEAR DONE: It appears your husband has already checked out of this marriage-in-name-only. Stop being afraid of being labelled a villain and offer your husband the option of couples counseling to see if the two of you can reconnect. Take into consideration that there may be more involved than you are aware of (ED problems, another woman). If your husband refuses, and you haven’t already done so, confide what has been happening in two or three close female friends. They can then spread the word that there is more than one side to the story. Then talk to an attorney.
DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, my mother-in-law moved into a nursing home and was very sad to be leaving the house she had lived in for 50 years. My husband, devastated at the thought of someone else owning his childhood home, convinced me to sell our house and buy the house from my mother-in-law. We moved in and began renovating it with the intention that it would become our forever home.
The problem is, everyone regards it as THEIR home, not ours. His adult children, his brother and his nieces all come and go as they please. I have talked to my husband about locking the front door, but he often forgets.
His family members come into our house and make a mess or eat our food or sit out on our deck. Then they act like I need to accept it, as it’s their family house. I could maybe understand if we had inherited the house, but we pay the mortgage on it.
I’m out of patience. How do I get my in-laws to once and for all see that this house is not theirs but ours? — DESPERATE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR DESPERATE: I assume you have been hesitant to tell these in-laws that the names on the deed to the house are yours and your husband’s. If you haven’t said it plainly, the time to do it is now. You don’t have to be nasty, but you do have to convey that you would like guests to call before coming over to be sure it’s convenient. This is not too much to ask.
It goes without saying (I sincerely hope) that they shouldn’t mess the place up or help themselves to your food uninvited. Your husband should back you up on this. Because he sometimes forgets to lock the door, that responsibility is one you will have to assume. You have my sympathy.
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.