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by Abigail Van Buren

Partner Becomes Invisible Man to Lover's Political Friends

DEAR ABBY: My lover, "Jim," and I are gay and have been together for more than 10 years. Jim is deeply involved with Republican politics. He belongs to several local and state-wide Republican organizations.

When Jim and I go out together, sometimes people approach Jim and say, "Hi." They are usually acquaintances he knows from his political activities. Although I stand right next to Jim, he never introduces me. When this first started happening, I would stand there and smile at the person. They'd usually give me a "Why are you listening to a private conversation?" look, so I would step aside and pretend to be doing something else.

Jim's excuse is always the same: "I would have introduced you, but I forgot (his or her) name."

This evening was the last straw. A woman came up to Jim while we were shopping. They started to chat and I was ignored again. I was so hurt and angry I walked out of the store and sat in the car. When Jim came outside he gave me the same "I forgot her name" excuse. Jim could see I was angry, so he changed his story and I caught him in a lie. Then he said he intended to introduce me, but I'd left the store before he had a chance. During the drive home, he told me several times that he really does love me.

Abby, Jim may love me, but I don't think he respects me. I'm seriously considering ending our relationship. Do you think I'm being too sensitive? -- "JULES" IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

DEAR JULES: You are not too sensitive; you may have been too tolerant. Your love is afraid he will lose his status among his political cronies by admitting that you are a couple, so he's being dishonest -- with them, with you and himself. How sad for all concerned.