DEAR ABBY: I have been with my live-in boyfriend for eight years. During the last five months, he has started staying out until daylight, choosing his friends over me, snapping at me when he talks at all and doesn’t want to be around me. We have always gone everywhere together and shared our friendships with each other. There’s an age gap of 16 years, but it has never been a problem.
I left for a month last year when I caught him talking to another woman through messaging (not platonic talk). That month I did a lot of soul-searching and set boundaries I will no longer allow to be broken. Because of past failed relationships, I have learned how to stand up and voice my opinion and care for myself emotionally. I guess my question is, should I be concerned, keep trying to communicate my feelings to him or move on with my life? I always put him ahead of anyone other than my children and God, but he doesn’t give me the same respect. — LOST FOR ANSWERS IN ARKANSAS
DEAR LOST: Is your boyfriend the person who is 16 years younger? I ask because his behavior is certainly immature. In light of what you have written, it should be clear to you that he is no longer as committed to your relationship as you have been. You stated that you have established boundaries that you will no longer allow to be broken. GOOD FOR YOU.
It is time to reestablish them because the treatment you have been receiving is not only disrespectful, but also cruel. You may have devoted years to the relationship, but from my perspective, you have invested enough. Tell him you can see that he is not happy and ask him if he wants to break up. I have a strong feeling that the answer will be yes.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 20-year-old gay man. I recently started a new job in which I thought I’d be replacing an aging co-worker who is supposed to be retiring “in a year.” Every time I have mentioned anything to her about her retiring, she has corrected me, saying she’s only going to cut back to a day or two a week. When I was hired, I was told she’d be gone in a month. I’m uncomfortable because she is politically conservative, deeply religious and sometimes moody, which makes her difficult to be around.
I have kept my mouth shut since I have been here only a month, whereas she has been here more than 20 years. I recently found out two other people had been hired for my role before I was, and both quit within six months. Should I stay and wait it out or follow the possibility of happiness elsewhere? — HOT AND BOTHERED IN INDIANA
DEAR HOT AND BOTHERED: Talk with your employer about the circumstances under which you were hired. You were told you would replace this woman and she’d be gone in one month. Exercise a little patience for another month or so and, if she’s still there, ask your employer if something has changed because she’s telling you she’s not quitting. You deserve a straight answer if circumstances have changed. If that’s the case and the job is no longer what you thought it was going to be, then “follow the possibility of happiness elsewhere” after you have found a new job.
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.