DEAR ABBY,

I just started dating an amazing guy. He is sweet, funny and handsome, but I don’t feel as strongly for him as he does for me. Maybe it’s too early in the relationship for me to be worried about feelings, or maybe as much as I want to have deep feelings for him, I don’t.

Lately, I have been tempted to cheat. That sounds awful, I know, but for some reason, I feel it’s my last chance before things start getting really serious with this guy. I want so badly to have this amazing relationship with him. It really feels like I could grow old with him, and I’d be OK with it. Or maybe I want a lifelong partner so badly that I’m forcing myself to keep seeing this guy. He’s basically everything I’ve ever hoped for, and yet I’m hesitating, unwilling to give up being single and having freedom.

Is it normal to feel this way? Is it normal to have the urge to flee something amazing because I don’t want to lose the ability to have total freedom? Or am I scared of commitment? Life is complicated; I am complicated.

— UNSURE IN THE SOUTH

DEAR UNSURE,

From where I sit, you do not appear to be ready to settle down. Also, you have “just started” dating this amazing man. Unless he starts pushing you to have an exclusive relationship, you would be wise to give it more time and see how things play out. Whatever it is that is holding you back will become apparent if you proceed slowly.

In laws be that way sometimes DEAR ABBY,

My mother-in-law manipulates my husband into lying to me and going behind my back. She is hard on him if he doesn’t return her calls promptly, to the point of calling the police and having them come to our home to “make sure his wife hasn’t done anything to him.”

}She throws a tantrum if he calls her back when I’m around. She will speak to him only in private and doesn’t want him to tell me about the calls or conversations. (He tells me anyway, although not all the details, which is fine.)

My husband and I feel her demands are destructive to our marriage. Last Thanksgiving was the first time he chose to spend the holiday with me and didn’t see his family. It caused an uproar, and now she’s giving him the cold shoulder and threatening to leave him out of the will. Help!

DEAR BLUES,

Your husband should not have had to choose between spending Thanksgiving with his wife or his family. There must be a lot more going on in addition to what you have put in your letter.

Be smart. The two of you should talk about this with a licensed marriage and family therapist who can help your husband find ways to cope with his mother’s emotional blackmail and threats to disinherit him. Her need to control her son is sick and, I agree, destructive to your marriage. Please don’t wait.

What are you waiting for?

DEAR ABBY,

I left high school in 1974 before graduating. I acquired my GED and don’t know if it would be appropriate to attend my high school reunion all these years later. Any thoughts?

— REUNION IN OHIO

DEAR REUNION,

For heaven’s sake go! If you do, you will reunite with friends you haven’t seen in many years, and I am sure they will be as glad to see you as you are to see them.

If you want out, use caution

DEAR ABBY,

For the last 12 years, we have been traveling 7½hours to see my husband’s grandparents. This happens several times a year. Each time I pray it will be the last visit.

Invariably, when we return home, I am sick for about a week, and it’s getting worse. At 96, Grandma isn’t cleaning the house (Grandpa died four years ago). She lives on her own in the country. Grandma has fallen, can’t cook for herself and still drives. The closest family member lives seven hours away.

Grandma has always been a manipulator, and I’m tired of how she treats her family. She uses the “financial inheritance” for leverage. My family has things planned out in advance about what to do when someone has reached a certain age.

I’m tired of subjecting myself to this, let alone facing Grandma’s wrath. The rest of the family accepts it for what it is. They don’t want to upset her, so they give in and accommodate. Do I have the right to back out?

— WANTS TO RUN AWAY

DEAR WANTS,

Before backing out, may I recommend that you and your husband discuss this with all of the relatives involved? It seems to me that a group intervention for Granny may be in order.

If she has enough money that she’s successfully holding it over everyone’s heads, she has enough to hire someone to clean her house for her on a weekly or monthly basis. Rather than pray for her demise, ask yourself, “If she’s not cleaning and cooking, how IS she taking care of herself?”

Contact the senior center nearest to where this poor woman lives, or the closest Area Agency on Aging and ask what can be done to help her. If not you, then your husband’s parents, aunts and uncles should do this. Ignoring her condition could be considered elder abuse.

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.

Jeanne Phillips, who writes under the pen name Abigail Van Buren in honor of her late mother, who created “Dear Abby” in 1956. She can be reached by visiting www.DearAbby.com or by writing to P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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