DEAR ABBY: I have a friend, "Ed," who dated a woman who put him down regularly. He was often depressed, and we would discuss what was wrong. Eventually I told him I didn't think she was good for him and he should end it. Instead, he became reluctant to tell me if anything was wrong.
When they got engaged, everyone was shocked. Ed explained it by saying they had been dating for several years so an engagement seemed "logical." Although many of his friends thought he was making a mistake, we offered our congratulations and support.
The other day, by coincidence, I read an article on the subject of female-on-male domestic abuse and realized that Ed's wife -- although she doesn't physically harm him -- demonstrates all the signs of an abuser. Part of me wants to discuss my concerns with Ed, but part of me thinks it's too late because they're already married. And maybe it's none of my business. What would you do? -- FEARFUL FRIEND
DEAR FRIEND: I would try a more subtle approach than your past efforts. I would share that article with my friend Ed and let him draw his own conclusions.
DEAR ABBY: I work and live in an ethnically and religiously diverse community. There is also a welcoming and open LGBT community here.
While I was having lunch with a new employee, she mentioned that she was married. My first thought was that she was married to a woman, but later it sounded like her spouse was male. I didn't want to be rude so I kept my mouth shut. Is it ever OK to ask the gender of someone's spouse? -- POLITE BUT CONFUSED IN OREGON
DEAR POLITE: I don't think so. It would be more tactful to ask the person her spouse's name. However, if the name is gender-neutral, then you should wait till you know the woman better for the answer. Time will tell, even if your co-worker doesn't.
DEAR ABBY: My wife is a nurse who works 36 hours a week. Two years ago she got duped into working for a multilevel marketing company. All she does now in her spare time is try to recruit people. She is never home.
We have two kids. She spends $700 a month on products and makes only $250 a month. Her so-called business is everything to her. She won't get marriage counseling. She says she isn't a quitter. I want a divorce, but I hate the consequences of ending a 15-year marriage.
I need help. It would be so easy to cheat, and I have been tempted more than once, but haven't done it. We are in our 40s, and I feel like a single parent. What do I do? I'm so frustrated. She is basically working for free and thinks she'll be able to retire rich from it. -- BRAINWASHED
DEAR BRAINWASHED: The business venture you have described may be a pyramid scheme. Many people have ended up with garages filled with inventory they can't unload and nothing to show for it. If she refuses counseling, then YOU should consider it for yourself, because what has been going on in your marriage for the last two years is unfair to you and your children. Then you can get a clearer picture of what your next steps should be.
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