DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 30 years. Although my husband and I are both positive people, we have not had a happy marriage.
He leads the life of a bachelor, including sex with other women and unilateral decision-making. He's outgoing, generous and well-liked. I'm a homebody who often feels lonely and rejected.
Outsiders would be surprised at the true nature of our relationship. We have been to counseling, but it didn't help. Why do I stay in this marriage? What's wrong with me? Are there others like me? -- INCREDULOUS IN INDIANA
DEAR INCREDULOUS: You wouldn't have stayed married to your husband if you didn't derive some benefit from it. Because counseling didn't change the dynamic between you and your husband doesn't mean you shouldn't have some independently.
Your problem may be lack of self-esteem or fear of being alone, a problem shared by many women in dysfunctional marriages. If you're sincere about finding the answers to your questions, they await you in the office of a licensed therapist.
DEAR ABBY: My older sister recently passed away after a 22-year battle with lupus. She beat the odds for so long, and even gave us the miracle that is her son.
Logically, I understand that medically there was nothing left the doctors could do, but emotionally I feel like I killed her because I went along with the doctors. Is it normal to feel this guilt?
I have nightmares every night now because I hear her last words. I see how she was both on and off life support. When I make myself eat, I overeat. But honestly, I could easily go back to never eating like I did before. Is all of this normal for the grief process? -- FEELING GUILTY IN OREGON
DEAR FEELING GUILTY: Yes, what you're experiencing is normal -- to a degree. However, if the nightmares and feelings of guilt persist, discuss them with a grief counselor or a religious adviser.
You alluded to having "gone along with the doctors." If by that you mean you agreed that your sister should receive palliative care at the end, you did her a favor, not a disservice.
DEAR ABBY: I dated this woman for almost a year. It ended when she gave me an ultimatum: convert to her religion or walk. She is Pentecostal, and I am Catholic. We are both deeply rooted to our own churches.
A few months have gone by. She still has deep feelings for me, but I don't know if I feel the same way because of her ultimatum. One of us must convert or we won't be able to move forward. But there are big differences between the two religions. What should I do? -- CONVERTING IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CONVERTING: Because you are deeply rooted in your Catholicism and no longer sure you feel the same way about her, let her go so she can find a good Pentecostal husband. Religion is something a person must believe in, not switch to please someone else. There are plenty of fish in the sea for both of you, so keep fishing.
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