DEAR ABBY: I'm a disabled middle-aged woman, married for 15 years. From the beginning, there was never much passion between my husband and me, but we're friends. I'm now becoming less able to go out and do things, and I will eventually be wheelchair-bound. I want to leave him so he can find someone who is able to do things with him.
I actually did it at one point. I moved into a cheap mobile home, but he sold the house and followed me. He's a loving husband, but he is messy. I exhaust myself picking up after him, and two months after moving into another house, the entire garage and basement cannot be walked through.
I really think what I want is to live alone in a simple, clean apartment. He -- and others -- tell me I need him and I'm nuts to live alone on Social Security when I could stay in this nice house. I'm just so tired all the time, and cleaning up after him is torture physically. Should I stay or should I go? -- EXHAUSTED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR EXHAUSTED: Although you didn't say it directly, your messy husband may be a hoarder. If that's the case, whether you stay or live elsewhere may depend upon his getting help for it -- not to mention getting the garage and basement cleared out.
Obviously, your husband loves you or he wouldn't have followed you when you moved into the mobile home. Do not divorce him because you feel guilty about not being well. He may need you as much as you need him. If picking up after him is too tiring, then it may be time to get someone in periodically to clean.
DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away last year after a six-year struggle with Alzheimer's. It was a long and heartbreaking time for me. I have two sons, but they don't live close. I see them and their families only a few times a year. I have pretty much been alone since my husband's diagnosis. I have friends -- all couples -- but going out with them isn't comfortable. It's a very lonely life.
I recently met a nice man who is divorced with no children. He has asked me to dinner. My problem is that he is 20 years younger. He says age doesn't matter to him, but I don't want to look like an old fool. (I'm 84.) We communicate by phone or email. I have not told anyone about this.
We have so much in common -- we like the same foods, same kind of music and other things. I have always taken care of myself, and no one can believe my age. I'm not looking for marriage, but it would be nice to have someone to have dinner with, and good conversation. I love to play golf, and so does he. Am I being foolish? -- LONG TIME LONELY
DEAR LONG TIME LONELY: No. Unless you have a "sell by" date stamped on your forehead, you should not preoccupy yourself with the difference in your ages. You say you aren't looking for marriage, so why not have an enjoyable time and see if a relationship evolves? You will have a happier life once you stop worrying about what other people may -- or may not -- think. It's called living your life.
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