DEAR ABBY: I'm married to a man 21 years my senior. "Joe" and I have been married six years. I have recently realized I'm gay and have fallen in love with another woman.
Although Joe isn't infirm or mentally deficient, he has a hard time making decisions on his own. He'll read something, hand it to me and ask me what I think. He can't form an opinion on his own, but God forbid you challenge an opinion he DOES have.
Over the course of our marriage, he has become "crotchety" and burned all his bridges. Because of this, I have lost friends, business opportunities and my reputation. He got fired from his job three years ago and has never actively tried to find another one. I have carried the family on my own financially.
He literally has no one but me. He's past retirement age, and I'm half that. I have more life to live being who I really AM, but I feel guilty leaving him high and dry. I no longer love him; I love my girlfriend. I want to be out and proud and live what I realize now is my real truth. How can I tell him I want out? -- TRAPPED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR TRAPPED: Before telling your husband anything, discuss this with a divorce lawyer. Leaving him may be complicated because you have been his sole support for a while. Once you know what your financial responsibilities may -- or may not -- be, you will be in a better position to give your husband the bad news. When you do, a way to start would be to tell him you have realized that you are a lesbian.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Mason," and I have been dating for eight months, and it has been going well. However, there is one thing standing in our way -- his mom and sisters.
Mason is the only boy. His parents divorced when he was young. His mom never remarried, but his father did. His two sisters (one older, one younger) don't have boyfriends. The three of them constantly make comments whenever Mason and I go out and do things -- that he's spending too much money or isn't at home enough. They critique everything Mason does, from what he wears to how much money he earned in his last paycheck. It's like they're obsessed with him.
They plan vacations while I'm around and don't invite me. I haven't been invited over for any holidays or family functions. I love Mason and want a future with him, but I can't continue dealing with the nonsense from his jealous mom and sisters. It's causing a huge strain.
Mason knows how upset I am. He says he has talked to them, but their behavior hasn't changed. If he won't take matters into his own hands, should I? -- COMPETING IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR COMPETING: No! Until Mason is mature enough to put his foot down, his mother and sisters will continue to decide for him who he dates, how much time he spends with her and whether he is earning "enough" money to be seeing anyone. You cannot and should not compete with his family because it isn't healthy for you or your relationship. Remember, Mason will likely always be a package deal, and if you can't accept it, you should end things.
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