DEAR ABBY: I've been married for 34 years. During most of them, I was unfaithful. I never felt like I was truly married because my husband never gave me the time of day, but I liked my marital status because, I guess, we were companions. As soon as my kids married and the nest was empty, I left. I didn't feel I needed to stay and be unhappy, so I moved out. Why I didn't divorce him during those eight years is beyond me.
We are now back together, and I don't know why. We're not physically attracted to each other, and he is manipulative, selfish and sarcastic. Why, Abby, am I afraid to move on from this? I hate it when we're alone at home. I'd rather spend the day with my grandchildren. I didn't miss him at all when I was away, but he called me often and I felt obligated and guilty. What should I do? -- SEARCHING FOR HAPPY IN ARIZONA
DEAR SEARCHING: If you really want to find "happy," the place to start would be in the office of a licensed psychotherapist. Once you figure out why you were willing to settle for marriage to a manipulative, selfish, sarcastic man to whom you are not attracted, you will figure out what your next move should be. From where I sit, it should be in the direction of the office of a lawyer who can help you untangle yourself from your unhealthy marriage once and for all.
DEAR ABBY: I work for a department within law enforcement that has been on a hiring spree for the past few months due to retirements. One of our new hires is an obnoxious know-it-all. When we are talking policy, she constantly corrects us, usually incorrectly. When we try to explain to her about her being wrong, she twists whatever we're talking about to make her sound right, or says we're being rude.
It's not just policy stuff. Everyday conversation can be frustrating. I made a comment about a geographical location, and she proceeded to argue about it. She then Googled it and realized I was, in fact, correct. I don't want to argue with someone daily who thinks she's always right. I've tried to let it go or say, "Yes, OK, you're right," but it is hard sometimes. My boss is no help. He doesn't deal with her daily, so he doesn't see it and says we all "just need to get along." How do I professionally approach this situation? -- OVER HER IN OREGON
DEAR OVER HER: If this new hire's personality problem continues, it could poison the entire department. Ask your co-workers if they have experienced what you have with the woman and, if they have, how they feel about it. If they agree that her need to be right even when she's wrong presents a problem, approach your boss AS A GROUP to discuss it. That way, it will be chalked up as a personnel problem rather than a personal one.
TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE ROSH HASHANA: At sundown tonight, the Jewish New Year begins. During this time of solemn introspection, I wish my Jewish readers, "L'shana tova tikatevu" -- may you be inscribed in the Book of Life and have a good year. -- LOVE, ABBY
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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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, chookeramuniversal.com.)
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