DEAR ABBY: My fiance, “Peter,” has a number of female friends I’m not comfortable with, primarily because they are women he “had” interest in before we started dating. He says he has told them he’s taken now and they can’t be more than friends, but I don’t think they got the message. He recently told me one of them told him a guy had proposed to her but she’s delaying accepting in case Peter becomes available. This is the second time something like this has happened.
I believe it’s because of the way he relates to these girls. I mean, if he has really made clear in words and actions that he’s not interested in them romantically, they wouldn’t base their life decisions on the hope that they may still have a chance with him.
Peter may tell me these things because he wants me to know lots of women are willing to have him. But I’m confused at this point about whether he’s truly committed to me. Could it be he just likes “talking” to women even though it leads them on? And is this behavior healthy for a future marriage? — SECOND THOUGHTS
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: You are asking intelligent questions. Unfortunately, not knowing your fiance, I can’t answer them. I can, however, offer this: When couples become serious, they stop playing games. If your fiance thinks that causing you to feel jealous or insecure at this point is constructive, he is making a mistake because it won’t stop after the wedding. Peter appears to be immature, and that’s a red flag. Premarital counseling may help to clear the air.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 28 years. I thought we were very happy for the first 25. The change came when our children all left home. We sold our large house, which I was more than willing to do. But the house we have moved into causes me a lot of anxiety because of the traffic noise. My husband is very forceful about his “right” to choose where we live. He has insisted that the next move is also his choice and has already purchased the land. He claims he has provided for others all these years, and now it’s his turn to get what he wants.
Abby, I raised the children, I still have a job and I contribute to every aspect of home life. Although I love him with all my heart, I wonder if I’d be better off throwing in the towel. He refuses to go to counseling, but I have gone, to help with my anxiety. After three years in this new home, I don’t see any sign he will change his ways. I have tried talking to him about choosing something different together and moving, but he won’t do it. Help! — BACK UP AGAINST THE WALL
DEAR BACK: I can’t change your husband’s attitude and, apparently, neither can you. I’m glad you have been seeing a therapist, because it’s time to schedule more appointments. Your therapist will help you to decide whether you can continue living with someone who refuses to recognize your contributions to the marriage and who has such a controlling, authoritarian attitude.
You have decisions to make that should not be taken lightly or decided while you are emotional. You deserve peace of mind and an equal voice about where you choose to live.
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, “Dyanne,” and I recently had a baby conceived not long after we started dating. While I love my child with all my heart, Dyanne is constantly dropping hints that she wants an engagement ring or a “promise ring.” I understand why because she has explained her reasons. But she’s pressuring me to provide something I believe should come when I feel comfortable doing it.
While some would say I don’t act like it, I’m traditional in some ways for a millennial. I believe that when I give someone a ring, it should be because I plan to marry her. I don’t consider marriage the way most do, and think I can just get divorced and it’s no big deal. I think Dyanne puts too much emphasis on what others think and that’s one of the reasons she wants a ring.
Am I wrong to stall until I feel ready to actually propose and not just say, “Sure. One day we will, and here’s a ring in the meantime”? — UNENGAGED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNENGAGED: Nowhere in your letter did you mention that you love Dyanne. You should not give her a ring and keep her in a holding pattern if you aren’t sure you want to follow through with the commitment. Be honest. Tell her you care about her and love your child and intend to responsibly co-parent with her, but you are not ready for marriage and don’t know when you will be. That’s the truth.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a volunteer tour guide for several historic sites. One of them is a cemetery. My fellow guides and I are concerned — not to mention saddened — when we see children running around unsupervised, and standing on and climbing on the gravestones. Cemeteries are sacred places in which the dead should be remembered and honored.
When parents or caretakers allow children to use the cemetery as a play area, they fail to teach them respect for the dead or for the survivors who are visiting the graves of their loved ones. They also place their children in danger. Gravestones can fall or tip over. Children have been killed or seriously injured by toppling stones. Flat grave markers can be tripping hazards. When we caution parents about these dangers, we are often met with indifference.
Please urge your readers to take our concern for their children’s safety seriously and control their children’s activities in cemeteries. — CONCERNED TOUR GUIDE
DEAR CONCERNED: I’m pleased to pass along your message because it is an important one. Cemetery etiquette is simple: Treat the graves as you would the graves of your own cherished loved ones, or as you would like your own to be treated. This includes no loud chatter, and because there are people in mourning there, not walking on the graves, not leaving chewing gum on the gravestones, keeping pets leashed — if they are brought there at all — and teaching children the difference between a cemetery and a playground.
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.