I am a 58-year-old, never-married woman with a 22-year blue-collar career. I own a home and will retire with benefits many people dream of.
I've recently ended a relationship with a man I've known since childhood. I truly love him. The problem is that he had been stealing from me. I confronted him several times, but finally had to involve the police. Now, he has flattened my tires and repeatedly dented my cars.
My question is this: Is there more than one right person for everyone? How long will it take me to recover from a broken heart, if ever? His vandalism and my huge financial loss keep me away from this whack job. How well do you really know anyone?
— Disillusioned in Washington
Inform the police that your ex-boyfriend is continuing to retaliate because you reported him. There is no timetable for healing from a broken heart, but take it from me, it DOES happen. I firmly believe there is more than one "right person" for everyone. You do not truly love HIM. What you love is the fantasy that he's the only right person for you.
We get to know the significant people in our lives — both male and female — by observing them over a long period of time and watching how they treat others. You should not keep your distance from this man only because of his vandalism and the money he has cost you, but also because he has anger problems he seems unable to control. Surely those character flaws showed themselves before he started acting out on you. Think back on the little things you may have chosen to ignore, and you may recognize that I'm right.
My wife and I married as teenagers 40 years ago. Our children are adults, and most people consider us a perfect couple. My wife has had several affairs over the years, some she has admitted to and others I have stumbled across. For the most part, they have been physical only, with no emotional attachment. Twenty years ago she had a passionate affair with a younger man. It ended when he broke it off to be with someone else. I didn't know about it at the time.
A year ago, she found out he's single again and invited him back into her life. Now, she's openly seeing him. She's telling me they are "just friends" and she "needs his company because only he understands her." I believe if he had a better job and financial outlook, she would leave me in a minute.
I can't stand the thought of losing the love of my life, but I also can't keep living with her knowing I play second fiddle in her heart. She refuses counseling because she doesn't see this as a problem. Should I give her more time (a year already) or file for divorce?
— Confused in Illinois
You have given your wife enough time to come to her senses. You state that she refuses counseling and you believe she would leave you in a minute if he made more money. That means she is staying with you only because of the lifestyle you provide. I do think there should be some counseling — for YOU. It will provide insight and emotional support as you contemplate divorce.
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.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Man's true colors shock his longtime girlfriend