Lover who won't commit has every reason not to
I'm a 45-year-old married woman with four kids. I fell in love with a longtime friend, "Hugh," two years ago. He's single and has never been married.
I told him I want a relationship, but he says that since I'm married we can't have one. I told him I love him, but he's not sure he feels as strong about it as I do. We have been spending a lot of time together and have started to get intimate.
I told Hugh I don't want to just fool around -- I want a commitment. He worries about my kids, and that if I leave their father they won't understand.
My husband is very cold and distant. We don't say much to each other anymore; we're just two adults living in the same house raising our kids. We have gone to counseling, but it didn't help. My husband says things are fine -- but they're not.
I'm angry because Hugh is willing to fool around but not commit. He says this shouldn't go on anymore and his heart isn't in it. The fact that I'm married bothers him. I told him to wait and eventually my husband and I will divorce. I'm hurt by his decision to back out. I feel he wanted the intimacy but doesn't want me, and I feel used. How do I sort this out? -- USED IN MASSACHUSETTS
You weren't used -- you threw yourself at Hugh, and what has happened was by mutual consent. Why would you expect a commitment from him when you haven't shown yourself capable of sticking with one? I credit Hugh for his honesty -- he hasn't led you on. That you're married should bother him.
When a man tells you his "heart" isn't in it, trust me, the rest of him isn't far behind. Don't waste your time being hurt. Learn from this. You have unfinished business to attend to. Your marriage is a mess. If it doesn't survive, you owe it to the next man in your life to be available before you start prospecting. If you're not, this will happen to you again and again.
A few days ago, my significant other, his 18-year-old daughter, "Maria," and I were in our living room discussing "Jonah," a slightly older guy she has been dating and who spends a lot of time here. I told her I have high expectations for her and think she can do a lot better than him.
I didn't realize that Jonah was in the next room when I spoke my mind or that he had heard me. My boyfriend told me later that Jonah said, "Now I know how she really feels about me!"
Abby, he's a nice kid, and he's always welcome here. I feel terrible about hurting his feelings, even though my opinion about him not being good enough for Maria hasn't changed. Still, I know the effect crass words can have on a young person, and I should have thought twice before opening my mouth.
Should I apologize to him for what I said? If so, what should I say? -- HOOF IN MOUTH IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HOOF IN MOUTH:
What happened was regrettable. By all means apologize to Maria's boyfriend for hurting his feelings. Tell him that you didn't mean to be cruel, but that you would feel better about the relationship if he had higher goals. It might be the push he needs to raise his ambitions and become more successful in life when he's older.
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.
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