DEAR ABBY: I lost my husband of 45 years three years ago. My longtime friend, "Grace," was very supportive and included me in family dinners and outings so I wouldn't be alone. A year ago, I moved away to start a new life for myself. Grace still lives in the same town and is still married to a verbally abusive, depressed husband. She told me once that she envied my freedom, but not how I got it.
I have met a wonderful man. We are in love and will see where it goes. When I talk to or see Grace, she never asks about my life or what I am doing. She vents at length about her husband, her marriage and other things in her life.
I think she liked it when I was miserable, too. Now that I'm happy, I don't really want to see Grace anymore. She's using me as someone she can unload on, and in my opinion, that's not friendly. What should I do? Keep avoiding her? I don't want to confront her, but if I need to, I would like to do it in the best way. -- MOVING ON
DEAR MOVING: I don't think you should "confront" Grace either, but avoiding her isn't the answer. Have an honest, non-confrontational talk with her. Tell her you are concerned that she is so unhappy. Explain that the amount of venting she's doing is creating a wedge between you, and she needs to make some important decisions about her life and her marriage.
I don't know how economically dependent Grace is on her husband, but it might help her self-esteem to find a job. If she's unable or unwilling to do that, she'll have to decide if this is how she wants to spend the rest of her life or discuss her options with an attorney.