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Dear Abby: Friend of abused man hesitates to intervene

Dear Abby: I have a friend, “Ed,” who dated a woman who put him down regularly. He was often depressed, and we would discuss what was wrong. Eventually I told him I didn’t think she was good for him and he should end it.

When they got engaged, everyone was shocked. Ed explained it by saying they had been dating for several years so an engagement seemed “logical.” Although many of his friends thought he was making a mistake, we offered our congratulations and support.

The other day, by coincidence, I read an article on the subject of female-on-male domestic abuse and realized that Ed’s wife – although she doesn’t physically harm him – demonstrates all the signs of an abuser. Part of me wants to discuss my concerns with Ed, but maybe it’s none of my business. What would YOU do?

– Fearful Friend

Dear Friend: I would try a more subtle approach than your past efforts. I would share that article with Ed and let him draw his own conclusions.

Gender questions may offend

Dear Abby: I work and live in an ethnically and religiously diverse community. There is also a welcoming and open LGBT community here.

While I was having lunch with a new employee, she mentioned that she was married. My first thought was that she was married to a woman, but later it sounded like her spouse was male. I didn’t want to be rude so I kept my mouth shut. Is it ever OK to ask the gender of someone’s spouse?

– Polite But Confused in Oregon

Dear Polite: I don’t think so. It would be more tactful to ask the person her spouse’s name. However, if the name is gender-neutral, then you should wait till you know the woman better for the answer.

Trapped in a business venture

Dear Abby: My wife is a nurse who works 36 hours a week. Two years ago she got duped into working for a multilevel marketing company. All she does now in her spare time is try to recruit people. She is never home.

We have two kids. She spends $700 a month on products and makes only $250 a month. She won’t get marriage counseling. She says she isn’t a quitter. I want a divorce, but I hate the consequences of ending a 15-year marriage.

I need help. We are in our 40s, and I feel like a single parent. What do I do? I’m so frustrated.

– Brainwashed

Dear Brainwashed: The business venture you have described may be a pyramid scheme. Many people have ended up with garages filled with inventory they can’t unload and nothing to show for it. If she refuses counseling, then YOU should consider it for yourself.