DEAR ABBY: I dated the perfect man for two years. When he asked me to marry him, I had to say yes. He was kind, gentle, attentive, easygoing, full of dreams, great sense of humor, an excellent provider, and sexually the best.
Three months after our perfect wedding, it all began to unravel. I learned he was bipolar with manic episodes. He has been married three times before me and always lost interest in sex. He says he may be attracted to men, then tells me he's not sure. He also isn't as good handling his financial affairs as he led me to believe.
I'm 58, and he's 59. How could I not have had a clue about any of this? I sold my house to move into the parsonage with him. After repeatedly being lied to, misinformed, or left out of the loop all together, I am now couch-surfing, mainly at my ex- husband's house.
I feel tired and broken - no income, no home, no respect, and no hope of his getting it together. I would appreciate any advice or counsel. All I have figured out is to start over and remain single, as he is my third husband.
- Third Time Around
DEAR T.T.A.: You will feel less tired and broken after you have consulted a lawyer about helping you get out of this fraudulent marriage. And while you're at it, you and your lawyer should bring this to the attention of the church council or whoever holds the lease on that parsonage. I am sure they will be very interested in what you have to say about the leader of their flock.
She doesn't really want to budge
DEAR ABBY: When I started dating my husband, "Ralph," 22 years ago, I made it very clear that I would never move to his hometown, which is six hours away. Even though it may seem selfish, my wish was to be near my family. Our relationship progressed anyway. We've been married for 15 years, live in my hometown, and have three little boys.
Ralph is 42, homesick, and wants us to move back home now to be around his parents because he has lived around my parents for 15 years. I told him that my intentions were made crystal clear before we got married and that I wasn't moving. His response was, "So, you were worth moving for, but I'm not?"
There are other reasons for my not wanting to move there, but the bottom line is that I wish he had been true to himself before deciding to marry me. I think it's a bit late to be playing this game. I'd like your thoughts, and please give it to me straight.
- Staying Put
DEAR STAYING: OK, here they are. I think your husband has a valid point. Marriage is supposed to be about compromise, and for the last 15 years, he has lived in your community.
I wish you had shared what your other reasons for being against moving are, because they might have influenced my opinion. But from where I sit, I think you owe it to Ralph to give it a try. Perhaps you and your family could rent out the home you're living in and rent a place in his hometown for a year. That way, if you can't adjust, you would be able to move back near your own family, which appears to be your first priority.