Dear Abby: I was diagnosed with an illness and my husband threatened to leave me

Dear Abby


June 17, 2023 | 3:00 in the morning

DEAR HAVE: My husband is out of state with his elderly (but still active) mother. He has gone to help her prepare her house for sale so she can move near us. Before she left, he was having severe panic attacks. He kept telling me that he’s scared of losing me (he’s been out of work for months) and that he would need me while he was with her.

Since he’s been gone, he’s barely called, rarely texts, and even suggested that I take some time off from myself. This was after I found out I needed to go to the ER and was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease. She’s blaming me for having to ask her mother for money to cover our bills.

This woman has been single for 30 years, has worked full time, and has essentially no real expenses. She ruins him to death, her only son. She treats him like her partner or a 12 year old boy. She doesn’t like that I’m home taking care of my 1 year old grandson and she doesn’t work. I have always contributed, but this is the choice my husband and I have made together.

I don’t feel like he’s worried about any of his relatives here, and I certainly don’t feel loved when he goes days without even checking in. When he is with her, he becomes a cold and bratty child. Any advice on what to tell him? UNCERTAIN IN TEXAS

DEAR UNCERTAIN: Tell your husband that you need him at home right now more than his mother needs him there. As things stand, your husband’s fear of losing you could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When her mother approaches, the situation will not improve because she will become even more childish. Unless the two of you have counseling, set boundaries, and clarify your priorities, your marriage likely won’t last unless you’re willing to accept the status quo.

DEAR HAVE: I became friends with John when I was 9 years old. We met through our church youth group and our common interests. We lost contact after about a year when I stopped attending the youth group and moved on to other friends and interests.

During the pandemic, John reached out to me on Facebook to try and rebuild our friendship. To tell the truth, I don’t really care about him. It’s been 10 years since we last spoke and I’ve changed considerably in that time. I met him twice to see if we had anything to bond over but there was nothing. He’s a nice guy, but how can I politely tell him I’m not interested in pursuing an adult friendship with him? OLD FRIEND IN CANADA

DEAR FRIEND: One way to accomplish this would be to simply be busy when it comes around. However, if you feel compelled to tell him something, tell him that while you had a lot in common years ago, your life has changed since then. You have wonderful memories, but they are in the past and you live in the present. You have other interests and responsibilities now, and you don’t have time for the close relationship he’s looking for. It is the truth.

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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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