DEAR ABBY: I have an enormous problem and need a womans input, and thats you. I realized recently that I have abused my wife, Doreen, for years.
I never hit her and I never cheated, but I had many frustrations inside and I took them out on her verbally. I never realized what I was doing to her emotionally. A few months ago, it happened again I yelled at her. After a weekend of crying, Doreen came to the conclusion that she didnt need the aggravation anymore. Our marriage is in deep trouble.
Abby, Doreen is my life. I worship her, I really do. I love her and Im IN love with her. I always have been and I always will be. Im seeing a counselor. It is going well, and Doreen has agreed to go, too, both alone and with me.
Although we have been intimate recently, she shows me very little affection or attention, and says very little to me. I understand she needs time and her own space, and Im trying hard to give that to her, but she means so much to me that I want to be around her as much as possible. I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. My doctor told me I am clinically depressed. I need her back in my life, but even more, I need to be back in HER life and heart. I am anxiously awaiting your reply.
HEARTBROKEN IN N.Y.
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: When people are diagnosed as clinically depressed, it means their brain chemistry is out of whack. Before you can heal your marriage, you will have to heal yourself because your depression and not your frustration may have been the cause of your ugly outbursts. I understand that you feel awful right now, but it may be necessary to reorganize your priorities.
Pushing and crowding your wife out of your own insecurity is unwise. Although you may not realize it, being beaten down can be as damaging to the target as being beaten up. In fact, the effects can be more long-lasting if the person is told repeatedly that he or she doesnt measure up.
Your wifes feeling for you may not be dead as much as completely numbed. Shes cooperating to the best of her ability by seeing your therapist and thats a hopeful sign. Your best bet is to do everything you can to make yourself better, listen to your therapist, and take your relationship with Doreen one day at a time.
DEAR ABBY: In a few months, some good friends of mine will be getting married. I am in the bridal party. The problem is, my ex-fiance is one of the groomsmen. My ex and I did not break up well, nor have we had any contact since I moved out.
Because my ex is not the best man, I dont really need to deal with him during the coming months or during the wedding. However, Im afraid it might be uncomfortable for me during such things as the reception dinner, the picture- taking, etc.
I dont want to distress the bride and groom, not this close to the wedding. How should I handle it if he should make things uncomfortable, other than as politely as possible?
DEAR CONCERNED: Im sure the bride and groom are well aware of the circumstances of your breakup. Therefore, it would not be out of line to suggest to whoever is handling the seating at the reception that you would prefer not to sit near our former fiance. Be cordial in your interactions with him, but dont linger or allow him to start a serious conversation, and you should be able to make it through the occasion without a scene.
DEAR READERS: Saturday was April Fools Day, and in honor of the occasion, I thought Id share with you some unusual letters Ive received. Anyone who reads my column knows that letters can be funny because of the content, but sometimes they are also amusing because of the spelling. Cross my heart, these are all real. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am 18 years old and I have a 6-month-old child. If youre thinking that I wasnt ready for that, you are correct. But I agreed to try my hardest at being a father.
Recently, though, rumors of my ex-girlfriend cheating on me reached my ears. By the time I heard, we had been broken up for nearly three months. Rumors of the child not being mine have also gotten back to me.
I am taking one of those maternity tests in May, and if the results come out negative, the child might not be mine. How should I talk to my ex if the child isnt mine? Im worried about confronting her.
DEAR WORRIED: If the results are negative, it may not be necessary for you to confront her. In fact, it might be better if your lawyer did it for you. (The consultation may be expensive, but believe me, it will be worth every penny.)
DEAR ABBY: My brother is bipolar and sometimes says and does things that are off-the-wall. He thinks someone steals his whole-kernel corn and leaves the cream-style.
To make a long story short, I keep missing whole-kernel corn from my pantry, and I know whos doing it as a practical joke. But how do I handle the situation without coming across as crazy?
JOANN FROM TEXAS
DEAR JOANN: By frozen corn and hope the guilty party doesnt check your freezer.
DEAR ABBY: I have a sister-in-law, Mary. We have known each other for years. Mary lives in California, but she often sends us e-mail, and each time she does she always misspells my name as Ritha. (My name is Rita!) I have tried pointing this out, but she continues to do it. How can I make it clear that my name is spelt Rita without appearing too rude?
RITA IN NEW YORK
DEAR RITA: Because you have already spoken to your sister-in-law about it, you might be able to get your message across if you start spelling her name Marye or Marey. Or, you can decide that whats in the message is more important than how your name is spelt. I recommend the latter.