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DEAR ABBY: Almost four years ago, I married a friend I had known since 1989. She was a widow, and we unexpectedly fell in love. The first three years, she spoke constantly about her late husband. I lovingly and quietly told her a few times that I didn’t think she’d like it if I mentioned my late wife and former women friends so often. It continued. I can’t stand hearing his name anymore. It makes me feel ranked way down in order of importance, after her four kids, her dead husband and herself. Over the last six months or so, she finally got it and no longer mentions him, but I’m still upset knowing I’m number seven on her list. Will I ever be able to get over this? She found a note months ago in which I described my feelings on this, and in it I mentioned I didn’t want to be married to her anymore. Any advice would be appreciated. — UNIMPORTANT IN FLORIDA
DEAR UNIMPORTANT: The woman you married has a lot of history, as I am sure you do. It’s not unheard of for someone to mention the name of their departed spouse years later, but your wife was insensitive to continue doing so after you told her it made you uncomfortable. If her relationship with her adult children gets in the way of her relationship with you, it should be discussed during marriage counseling. If you truly feel you are last on her list of priorities, you have to decide if you want to end the marriage or whether, when you wrote that note, you were simply blowing off steam.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 32-year-old mom of four (11-month-old twins, a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old). I’ve been married for six years. I’m a Southern girl, but my husband is an immigrant to this country. When he emigrated, he settled in the North. I have always told him before and during our marriage that I don’t like the North. I want to move somewhere down south or at least the middle of the country. We are currently in the process of house-hunting, and he keeps showing me homes in the North, even though he knows I don’t want to live here. I understand that he loves our stability here and the friends we’ve made over the years, but we have so much flexibility with our jobs that we can move to someplace we both love. Recently, he said I could go and live in the South if I want to — alone. So now I’m wondering, should I break up our family and take him at his word, or keep talking to him about it until I get his OK? — NEGATIVE ON THE NORTH
DEAR NEGATIVE: Base the decision about where to live less on geography and more on where your children can get the best education and where the cost of living is more affordable. That your husband has informed you (four kids later) that he has no intention of compromising is regrettable. Because you feel so strongly about returning to your roots, you may be able to do it once the children are grown. I do not think it is worth breaking up a marriage over — unless this is your husband’s way of addressing every disagreement.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.