DEAR ABBY: I have been with a man for the last six years. He has been separated for 20 years. When I asked him if he was going to finalize his divorce, he said no. When I said I would like a commitment, he said he gave me one when he moved in five years ago. I said I want more. His wife even asked him for a divorce, but he said it’s expensive. I told him by my upcoming 50th birthday I want a yes or no on the divorce. What should I do?
— IN LIMBO IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR IN LIMBO:Assuming this man lives with you rent-free, you have spent the last six years with a houseguest who is more concerned with his net worth than your need for validation. If his wife wanted a divorce, it would have happened already, and the issue of property division could have been bifurcated (separated). Obviously, this arrangement is serving them both in some way. Your next step should be to make a final decision about whether the status quo is acceptable to you, because it isn’t going to change.
DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law (age 75) apparently doesn’t like kids. He and my sister are childless. He just told my husband that what he doesn’t like about our family gatherings is the attention everyone shows my two granddaughters. (They are 7 and 8.) At a recent gathering, he actually threw down game pieces and stomped off when they approached. Should I sever contact with my sister and him? I know if I tell my son about this, my son will cut ties with them. What parent forces their children on anyone who doesn’t like them? Your advice might help.
— FAMILY GAL
DEAR FAMILY GAL: Not everyone relates well to kids. That said, your brother-in-law’s behavior was appalling. Have a private talk with your sister. Could HE be entering a second childhood? Knowing how he feels about children, if you wish to see him and your sister, consider socializing with them separately. If other family members with children invite them to anything other than an adults-only gathering, Sissy and her hubby should politely offer their regrets.
DEAR ABBY: I have a class reunion coming up and want some advice on how to stop a fellow classmate from giving a religious sermon. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but after the last reunion, several people complained about his lengthy preaching. I’m afraid if it happens again, some people may choose not to attend. How can I tactfully handle this issue? Any help is appreciated.
— WANTS TO HAVE A GOOD TIME
DEAR WANTS: Unfortunately, some people don’t know how to let go of a microphone once they have one and aren’t able to sense they have lost their audience. Handle this uncomfortable situation by advising all the speakers that their remarks must be limited to no more than three minutes. Of course, if the “sermon” runs long, you will have to step forward and call a halt to it by asking the audience to give the person a big hand to show their appreciation. (If that doesn’t do the trick, you may have to resort to a hook.)
DEAR ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.