DEAR ABBY: I have been married to the same man for 20 years. He likes having people around all the time, and because he is a minister, we often can't avoid it. I have tried to accommodate his friends and hangers-on, but lately it's becoming unbearable. He will say "yes" to people who have been evicted, and I find myself sharing living quarters with perfect strangers or church members without prior notice.
I have tried over the years to make sense of his attitude toward me (also toward those he's offered help). I feel he cares for others and what they think of him more than what I feel or think. When I complain about his latest live-in's attitude -- or anything -- he brushes every issue aside and basically tells me to be a good Christian.
Right now, we have a family of three sharing our three-room house with us and our three boys. I'm thinking of leaving him when the youngest one is 13. I don't want to hurt my kids. How can I explain to them that their "nice" dad is unreasonable and irresponsible with money, and I can't bear it anymore? -- REACHED MY LIMIT IN NIGERIA
DEAR REACHED: I suspect your problems "come with the territory" of being married to a minister. But a caring husband would respect and consult his wife before inviting houseguests into their home.
If you finally decide you are so unhappy you need to leave, be honest with your sons. The way you have expressed your reasons to me are clear and well stated. Because they have grown up with things always having been this way, they may think it is normal. Or, you may find they agree with you.Read more in: Marriage & Divorce
DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman who proposed to my high school sweetheart after graduating from college. It may seem odd for a woman to do, but I initiated our relationship in high school and then attended an all-women's college. Suffice it to say, he said he wasn't going to be the "one."
I can't understand why he rejected me, and I don't know what to do now. I thought I was making a sound decision choosing my friend because he is an engineer. Could it be that he doesn't regard me as a good enough partner because I have an art degree, or could it be insecurity on his part?
I can't imagine why he doesn't want to marry at this stage in life. We are 23. We were together for four years, and for both of us, this was our longest relationship. Part of me wonders, if I change, will he change his mind? Or does this seem like a hopeless case? -- JANE DOE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR JANE: If you would like to know his reasons for not accepting your proposal, the person you must ask is him. While you feel ready to make a lifetime commitment, your boyfriend apparently hasn't reached that stage of life.
I know you're disappointed, but life doesn't always go the way we predict it will. (Sometimes it turns out even better!) So please don't try to change yourself to accommodate someone who is emotionally unavailable. You could twist yourself into a pretzel, but it wouldn't work because you aren't the problem. Accept it and move on.Read more in: Love & Dating
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)