Dear Abby: My husband keeps talking about how attractive his exes were

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 40 years and we have had our ups and downs. My problem is that he often talks about the girls he knew before me. He describes them all in radiant terms – gorgeous, perfect body, beautiful hair, well endowed and so on. It makes me feel self-conscious and inept.

Add to that the fact that he’s hot-tempered with me. He constantly finds flaws in the way I do things and speaks loudly to me. When I told him how I felt, his response was that I was “sick in my head.” He will not listen or acknowledge that he has a part in the problem. Where do I go from here? — FEEL LESS THAN

BEST FEELING LESS: I’m glad you ask. From here, you’ll go to a licensed psychotherapist’s office to help you figure out why you’ve been tolerating it this way for 40 years and give you the tools to regain your battered self-esteem.

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Your hot-tempered husband is not a prize. Whether his girlfriends from long ago could have competed for Miss Universe doesn’t matter. He somehow ended up with “flawed” little old you. You’re no more “sick in the head” than I am! Wrap your mind around that fact and acknowledge that you’re married to a verbal abuser with an overactive fantasy life, and the better off you’ll be.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve known my friend “Aaron” since first grade. Our relationship has not been the same since the outbreak of COVID. He hardly ever interacts with me unless it’s on social media. He refuses to meet anyone or leave his house.

It has not been easy for him because he lives alone. He used to live with his brother, but since his brother’s death a few years ago, Aaron hasn’t been the same. I’m mad at him because instead of telling me, he told my best friend about his brother’s death. When we talked about getting back together, he initially said he wanted to wait until the stay-at-home order was lifted. When that finally happened, he announced that he didn’t want to get together until COVID died out and it was considered safe.

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Abby, I feel hurt and betrayed. I understand Aaron’s concerns about COVID and the risks associated with it, but I don’t like being lied to. I feel like he cheated on me by telling me one thing but really meaning another. I think he should have been candid and honest with me from the start.

I appreciate our friendship, so I’m not ready to throw it away just yet. Aaron stops talking to me and our relationship is broken. Am I wrong to feel this way? I am unsure about the next steps. — HURT GUY IN MICHIGAN

BEST DUTY GUY: You didn’t say if Aaron is dating others again. It’s possible that since his brother’s death he’s realized how fragile and unpredictable life can be, and he’s taking every precaution. I think it would be healthier for you if you stop obsessing over him and start making other friendships. If Aaron stops talking to you, the “steps” you need to take are in the opposite direction.

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Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.