DEAR ABBY: I have been married to “Oscar” for more than 30 years. He has been inattentive for more than 25 of those years. Over the last 15 years, I have found erectile dysfunction medications in his vehicles. Oscar claims he knows nothing about them. He lies constantly, even when the evidence is right in front of him. When I ask him if he is seeing other women, he claims to be impotent and tells me I am crazy.
I had an affair at 55 to try to raise my self-esteem. I once was very beautiful and even now, at age 68, I look quite good. I have stayed with my husband out of habit in spite of his hurtful comments and lack of affection.
Oscar has told me that if I need affection, “go get a job in a whorehouse.” I have had three back surgeries in less than a year, and when I cry with pain, he gets annoyed and tells me to cut it out.
He’s a narcissist and not much to look at. He goes out of his way to please strangers to make himself look good, but when I need a hand, I’m “needy” and he doesn’t lift a finger. Advice, please! – Unhappy in New York
DEAR UNHAPPY: You have put up with this for how long? Your relationship with this man (I hesitate to call him a “husband”) is clearly loveless. Instead of asking me for advice, look within and ask yourself, “Is this really the way I want to spend the rest of my life?” When the chips are down and you need Oscar’s help, he not only turns his back but also calls you a b–– for asking.
Because you know he’s cheating, hire a private detective for a month and find out who with. Then talk to a lawyer about what your rights are as a wronged wife in New York.
DEAR ABBY: My 35-year-old stepson has moved back into my home so many times I have lost count. I ask only that he keep his bedroom clean, himself clean, help around the house and look for work. He got married last January and was recently escorted to my home by the local police. His new wife had taken out a restraining order against him.
I was unemployed for two years, but recently found a new job. It’s a start, but things are tight financially, and my wife had to assume the role of provider, which I dislike immensely. That’s why I hate talking to her about this issue with her son.
I have asked – pleaded – to no avail, and now have run out of polite ways to tell him to get out. I don’t want him to feel unwelcome, but I’m feeling very used. – Feeling Used
DEAR FEELING USED: Your feelings are accurate. And as much as you might hate it, talk to your wife about what her son is doing. At 35, he should have long been able to find lodgings other than under your roof.
By allowing her son to live (rent-free, I assume) under the conditions you have described, she’s enabling it to continue for the foreseeable future. Unless changes are made, it could ruin your marriage. A first step should be to set a date by which her adult son should move out and insist he get help for the issue that led to the restraining order.