DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a wonderful man, “Andy,” for two years. I couldn’t ask for a better partner. We are both divorced with children, and they get along like brothers and sisters.
Even though our marriages ended, mine wasn’t an ordeal. My ex and I both knew it wasn’t working anymore, and we still get along pretty well. But Andy and his ex-wife never got along and argued for 18 years, and herein lies the problem. He gives me no space — ever.
I have discussed it with him numerous times, and his response is, “Well, I have never been this happy, and I love spending time with you.” I enjoy our time, too, but I feel controlled without him acting controlling. He wants to be with me every minute. I look forward to going to work to escape! How can I get him to listen? — JOINED AT THE HIP
DEAR JOINED: The next time you have “the conversation,” and he tells you he has to be with you every minute because he loves spending time with you, remind him that there are two of you in this relationship. Then inform him that with no time for yourself or friends, you feel claustrophobic, which isn’t healthy for you or the relationship.
Healthy relationships are those in which both parties allow each other the space to be individuals. If you don’t draw a line and insist that he accept it, he will smother you.
DEAR ABBY: You always give great advice on how to respond to people. My husband had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago. We ventured out for the first time to a store. He was holding onto the cart and stopped to rest. A man behind us, who was obviously following too close, threw up his hands in disgust. Evidently we weren’t moving fast enough for him, so he made a snide remark; I replied that my husband is recovering from a stroke.
Unfortunately, a week ago he suffered another stroke. How can I respond to people who are rude to those who might be slow or disabled? — PATIENCE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PATIENCE: I think you handled the situation beautifully. All you can do is hang on to your temper and try to calmly educate people like the impatient (and rude) individual you encountered that day.
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DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I will be moving in together soon, and we’re looking forward to a pet-filled life. The concern we both share is that my mother and hers are allergic to animals and will probably never be able to visit because of it. We love each other’s parents and would like to have them in our lives as much as possible. Are there rules of etiquette for pets and families with allergies? — PET LOVER IN GEORGIA
DEAR PET LOVER: If your parents are highly allergic, putting your pets in another room or outside won’t work because their hair and dander would be in your carpets and on your furniture. In a case like this, your parents should talk to their doctors and ask if they can get vaccinated to lessen or alleviate their allergies. If that isn’t an option, you and your fiancee may have to visit THEM, wearing freshly laundered clothes so you won’t bring any allergens with you.
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.
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