DEAR ABBY: I have spent years trying to have a close relationship with my older sister, but it is clearly not a priority for her. We are very different people, but I was hoping our shared history and family bond would be enough for her to prioritize me and my son. We come from a very small family on both sides and, one day, we will be some of the few remaining family members.
I haven’t heard from her in months during the pandemic, which has been hurtful. I’m a working single mother, trying to take care of my son during this dark time, and she hasn’t bothered to check on us even once.
She once told me that the only things she cares about are her own son and her dogs. I don’t understand how she can have such a loving heart for animals but no concern for her own family. She can be very selfish and has had no close girlfriends during her adulthood.
Growing up, she was jealous of me, but I thought things would be different after I struggled with a divorce and other life stressors. I received no support from her during my divorce. In fact, she seemed to take my ex’s side despite his having emotionally abused me for years. Should I expect that we will ever have a closer relationship or just accept that it won’t happen? — HURT IN ALABAMA
DEAR HURT: If your description of your sister is accurate, she has drawn a tight circle around herself that she doesn’t want breached. You stated that the two of you are very different people, but on some level you haven’t allowed yourself to accept what that means. You will be hurt less once you accept that your fantasy of closeness with her will never happen.
For whatever reasons, she isn’t capable of giving you what you need. You will find the closeness you crave by developing stronger relationships with your friends. Sadly, for your sister, she won’t give herself the gift of these important and rewarding kinds of experiences.
DEAR ABBY: I recently separated from my husband of 16 years. He is an alcoholic who refuses to seek help. He can’t hold a job or help with household expenses when he does work.
We have been separated for five months, and he feels that I “owe” him another chance. I gave him warning after warning for six years — and there was no change. I continue to tell him repeatedly that I have moved on and I’m tired. Things got so bad I eventually had a mental breakdown and had to seek professional help.
I’m currently in a new relationship, and I have never been so happy. My husband threatens this new man and calls him names. I’m in the process of filing for divorce, but he makes me feel I am obligated to give him the chance to make things right. Am I wrong for wanting to move on? — END OF MY ROPE IN NEVADA
DEAR END: No, you are not! You have suffered enough, so do not backtrack. You are not obligated to give your alcoholic husband more time than you have already devoted. If you allow him to wear you down, there will only be more of what you have already experienced. (If you are even tempted, call your therapist!)
That he refuses to seek treatment speaks volumes. If you and the new man in your life feel threatened, file a police report.
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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