DEAR ABBY: My husband has broken my heart. We've been married a year, and he just informed me that he married me only to get back at his ex-girlfriend!
He says he wants me only as a friend and he's still in love with her. He has made it very clear that he's not interested in having a real marriage with me -- no sex, nothing -- other than living together as roommates.
My husband and I continue to sleep in the same bed, but he won't get close or touch me.
His ex is serving time in prison and will be there for at least two years, but he allows her to call our home collect whenever she feels like it. It started with her calling only every so often -- now it's every day.
I'm so hurt, Abby. He just doesn't care. I married my husband because I was in love with him -- and he did a very good job of pretending he loved me. It was all a lie, and now I feel trapped.
Someone said to me that as long as there's friendship, I have something to hold onto, since his ex will be gone for so long. Well, I don't think it's worth it. I am afraid he'll never get over her.
Please don't tell me to leave him -- I can't. I have nowhere to go and no money. I barely make ends meet. What am I going to do? Help! -- HEARTBROKEN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Realize that you have suffered a blow that would bring an ox to its knees, so it's not surprising that you feel helpless. However, you are NOT helpless -- you are a grown woman, and regardless of how devalued you feel, you have all of the skills and potential that you brought to your marriage.
You say you have nowhere to go and no money. Are you able to work? If so, start looking for a job immediately. Then you can begin depositing your earnings in a separate account, and it won't be long before you have enough saved for a security deposit on an apartment of your own. Next, talk to a lawyer. You are going to survive this disappointment and will come out stronger for it.
I disagree with your friend that as long as there's friendship you have something to hold on to. You can't force someone to love you. But if you stand up straight and refuse to be mistreated, you will regain your self-respect. Trust me on that. I wish you the best of luck. Please let me hear from you in six months. I'm rooting for you.