Dear Abby: Wife grapples with husband’s family history of incest

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I first got married, I didn’t know why his mother and sisters were so hostile. When they started to treat our children the same, my husband finally addressed the problem. We left town and he finally told me that when he was a teenager and in his early twenties he slept with them all, which is why they didn’t like me.

After a separation of several years, he started talking to his mother and sisters again. Her mother is now 70 years old. It breaks my heart that he talks to people he has had sex with, but he says it doesn’t matter because they are “family”. In my opinion, it shouldn’t have anything to do with them. Please tell me how I should handle things. – “ALL IN THE FAMILY”

DEAR “ALL IN”: You cannot control what another adult is doing. I sympathize with your feelings and agree that your husband’s family situation was more than unhealthy. However, from what you wrote, I have a feeling you would be just as upset if he spoke with ex-girlfriends. If your husband wants to talk to his loved ones, he will, whether or not you find him threatening. My question would be: are you ready to tolerate it?

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DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend suffers from depression. She says she loves me, but there are times when she won’t contact me for days because of it. During this last bout of depression, she hasn’t spoken to me for a month.

I finally got sick of it. I told her that the next time she talks to me it should either be a break-up call or an apology. Was I right to say that? I do not know what to do. – UNCERTAIN IN THE EAST

DEAR UNCERTAIN: You say your girlfriend is suffering from depression. Is she under the care of a doctor and receiving treatment for it? Is her family aware that when she rides a bicycle she is in solitary confinement? If she is so disabled that she cannot communicate, they should be notified so that she can get the professional help she needs, including an adjustment to her medications if necessary.

I agree that she owes you an apology, and I can’t fault you for telling her. But I wouldn’t recommend mentioning the breakup while she’s in a vulnerable mental state.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a successful 55 year old businesswoman who fell in love with a man who has nothing. I should fully support him in retirement, but he’s so adorable, so sweet, and so much fun. It brings me a lot of joy and happiness. What should I do – stay with him and shoulder the burden of his finances or just keep moving? – EYE TO THE FUTURE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR EYE: You are a successful 55-year-old businesswoman. I guess you’re asking me if you should marry this man or not, even though you find him adorable, kind, and fun to be with. People have valuable assets to offer besides money. However, before you go to the altar, I suggest you talk to your lawyer, just in case your assessment of him changes after the wedding.

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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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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For a great guide to becoming a better conversationalist and more social person, order “How to be popular.” Send your name and mailing address, along with a check or money order for $ 8 (in US dollars) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling costs are included in the price.)


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