DEAR ABBY: I have a terrible problem on my hands and desperately need your advice.
Several years ago, after enduring a nightmare marriage for 27 years, I left my husband "Joe," with the loving support of a dear friend I'll call "Sally." I found a kindred spirit in this funny, gentle, intelligent woman -- and without her I don't know how I could have survived that terrible time in my life. We were virtually inseparable. I had my own room in her home, and she had her own room in mine. We took trips together, spent weekends and holidays together, took care of each other and each other's kids. We did everything together, and I must admit I've never been happier. We were always there for each other.
But after three years of trying to make it without a husband, I caved in and remarried Joe. He promised to change, and he's been quite tolerable. The problem I'm faced with is that I no longer have a place in my life for Sally. I just don't have any time for her. She does not fit in with my "married crowd." She's a single mom, and even though I love her dearly, she's quite eccentric and my husband does not approve of her.
I know how to break up with a man. My question is, how do I "break up" with a girlfriend without hurting her? I really thought that she would understand, but she apparently doesn't. She is terribly upset with how things have turned out, but there's nothing I can do about it. -- CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
DEAR CAUGHT: Your letter gives credence to the adage, "No good deed goes unpunished." There's no way to break up with Sally without hurting her.
It's not surprising that your husband disapproves of Sally. She was your lifeline during the separation, and she symbolizes your independence. Where was your "married crowd" when you needed support after your "nightmare marriage" and no longer fit in with them?
If you really wanted to, you could maintain the friendship despite the altered circumstances. However, since you don't -- show her this column and, I assure you, she will understand.