DEAR ABBY: "Innocent and Faithful in L.A." told you that she has been in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend. Although she has been completely devoted to him for two years, he continues to accuse her of seeing other men because he has a "gut feeling" about it. She said he reads her e-mails, and she suspects he has hacked into her computer. She asked if there was "any hope" for their relationship.
You advised her to keep the relationship long-distance or end it. Oh, how I wish someone had given me that advice before I married my husband.
I felt that if we were married, he would finally be secure and not accuse me of seeing other men. After our wedding, it got worse. It got so bad I would cross the street to avoid speaking to a former classmate; I couldn't even go into the grocery store without him.
After 25 years of marriage, and his having at least two affairs, he finally left me for another woman. -- SYMPATHETIC IN HARRISONBURG, VA.
DEAR SYMPATHETIC: It may take counseling to help you recover from 25 years in emotional prison, but I'm glad to know that you're finally free. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I can tell "Innocent" from firsthand experience that no, there isn't any hope. Nothing she can say will reassure him because his paranoia has nothing to do with her or her behavior; it has only to do with him. If she's smart, she'll dump him. -- BEEN THERE IN MONTREAL
DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree with you.
DEAR ABBY: Any time someone constantly accuses you of something (infidelity, lying, etc.) it is time to look into what THAT person may be doing. When we are constantly placed in the position of having to defend ourselves, we often don't take time to look into what the accuser may be doing. If "Innocent" were able to seriously look into his behavior, I'll bet she'd discover he's doing exactly what he's accusing her of. -- JANIE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR JANIE: You have insight. There's an old French saying that translates (roughly), "A man doesn't look behind the bedroom door unless he has hidden there himself."
DEAR ABBY: "Innocent" should run as far from that guy as she can. I once had a boyfriend who claimed that I treated everyone -- including my pets -- better than I treated him. He tried to tell me not to talk to my friends or my children's father. I drew the line when he told me I had to let his abusive cousin come to my apartment to visit.
When I told him to pack his things and get out, he hit me. It only happened once, because I stood up to him. I filed charges and he went to jail. That's when I found out that I wasn't the first. He had been arrested six times for abuse.
Please tell Miss "Innocent" from someone who's been there: Get away before he starts hitting you. -- STANDING TALL IN DAYTON, OHIO
DEAR STANDING TALL: You are lucky that you drew the line where you did. Some people are so insecure they cannot function unless they feel completely in control, regardless of how destructive that control may be to the object of their obsession. Once an emotional and verbal abuser becomes physical, it can escalate to homicide.