Dear Abby: I have been married to the same man for 20 years. He likes having people around all the time, and because he is a minister, we often can’t avoid it. I have tried to accommodate his friends and hangers-on, but lately it’s becoming unbearable. He will say “yes” to people who have been evicted, and I find myself sharing living quarters with perfect strangers or church members without prior notice.
I have tried over the years to make sense of his attitude toward me (also toward those to whom he has offered help). I feel he cares for others and what they think of him more than what I feel or think. When I complain about his latest live-in’s attitude – or anything – he brushes every issue aside and basically tells me to be a good Christian.
Right now, we have a family of three sharing our three-room house with us and our three boys. I’m thinking of leaving him when the youngest one is 13. I don’t want to hurt my kids. How can I explain to them that their “nice” dad is unreasonable and irresponsible with money, and I can’t bear it anymore?
– Reached My Limit in Nigeria
Dear Reached: I suspect that your problems “come with the territory” of being married to a minister. But a caring husband would respect and consult his wife before inviting houseguests into their home.
If you finally decide you are so unhappy that you need to leave, be honest with your sons. Because they have grown up with things being this way, they may think that it’s normal. Or you may find they agree with you.
She proposes, and he rejects
Dear Abby: I am a young woman who proposed to my high school sweetheart after graduating from college. It may seem odd for a woman to do, but I initiated our relationship in high school and then attended an all-women’s college. Suffice it to say, he said he wasn’t going to be the “one.”
I can’t understand why he rejected me, and I don’t know what to do now. I thought I was making a sound decision choosing my friend because he is an engineer. Could it be that he doesn’t regard me as a good-enough partner because I have an art degree, or could it be insecurity on his part?
We are 23. We were together for four years. Part of me wonders, if I change, will he change his mind? Or does this seem like a hopeless case?
– Jane Doe in South Carolina
Dear Jane: If you would like to know his reasons for not accepting your proposal, the person you must ask is him. While you feel ready to make a lifetime commitment, your boyfriend apparently hasn’t reached that stage.
I know you’re disappointed, but life doesn’t always go the way we predict. Please don’t try to change yourself to accommodate someone who is emotionally unavailable. Accept it, and move on.