DEAR ABBY: I know I should be telling the world how lucky I am and I should be happy, but I'm miserable. I am a 30-something mother of two, recently divorced.
I have started dating my husband's polar opposite. My ex was an alcoholic. He was in trouble with the law and could not earn a living to save his life. I not only supported us, but shouldered all the responsibility for our home and our children while he led his own life with his drinking buddies. But that is in the past.
Today I am seeing "Gary." We have been dating nine months. Gary treats me like a queen and is fabulous with my children. I think he worships the ground I walk on. He's loving, affectionate, generous and caring.
So why am I complaining? Because he is ALWAYS HERE. He never leaves! Yes, I get to work all day and he stops in only a few times a day, but the minute I am done, he is at my door. He usually has dinner with me or wants to take us out, so I have a hard time saying no.
He respects the fact that he can't spend the night in front of my kids, but he stays until they are asleep, so the only time I have to myself is when I'm sleeping. He spends every waking hour with me and comes with me wherever I go.
Gary jumps in and pays for everything before I can even pull my wallet from my purse. I feel crazy for complaining, but it makes me feel so indebted. I also feel stalked, controlled and burdened. Am I just being selfish? Is there a way to train myself to like to be spoiled? Help! -- SMOTHERED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR SMOTHERED: You are not being selfish. You were starving for certain things in your marriage to your ex and have overcorrected in this new relationship. Please don't think you are the only person to do this. It happens quite often.
You are about eight months overdue for a frank and honest discussion with Gary about the personal space you need. You are still healing from a dysfunctional marriage, and he appears to be so smitten -- or insecure -- that he's preventing you from figuring out where you end and he begins. It would be interesting to know what baggage this man is carrying.
Please, I urge you, set some clear boundaries before you become so upset with him that you "toss the baby out with the bathwater."