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Husband needs to focus on the present

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

Dear Abby: I'm married to the love of my life. I can't imagine loving a man more than I love "Wayne," and I know he feels the same about me. The problem is, he's always telling stories about things he has done, including past relationships, in graphic detail.

I have heard all of them repeatedly, and I'm sick of them. When I tell him this he says, "Fine! I won't talk to you anymore." Wayne never talks about OUR past, present or future. How can I get him to stop reliving "the good ol' days" and start focusing on our life together? – Current Event in Kentucky

Dear Current Event: Wayne may react defensively when you say you're "sick" of his stories because he feels you are criticizing him. Perhaps if you told him that hearing him dwell on past relationships is hurtful, he might be willing to enlarge his repertoire.

If that doesn't help, it's possible your husband feels his best years are behind him. Past conquests and adventures can be more fun to dwell on than the new lawnmower, the plumbing that needs replacement, which friends are sick and the most recent one who died. Things might improve if you work together to create activities that will spice up your lives and give him some new material. Try it. It might benefit you both.

Dear Abby: I have been in a relationship with "Bob" for 12 years. He doesn't work and doesn't take care of our children because he says it's "not his responsibility." I have supported him all this time, yet nothing is good enough.

He has cheated on me several times. During his third affair, he had two kids with the other woman. He doesn't understand why I don't trust him and why I insist on seeing his cellphone. The last time I was able to get ahold of it, he broke down the bathroom door trying to get it back.

He threatens to move out, and if he does, that will be "the last I hear from him." I would be relieved if he went. I have so much anger toward him. I love him, but at this point love doesn't have anything to do with it.

I have asked him several times to leave, but he just keeps saying he'll be leaving on his own terms. I can't continue like this anymore. He brings out the worst in me and I hate it. What do I do? – Had It in Phoenix

Dear Had It: That you have tolerated this behavior for 12 years boggles my mind.

Because this philandering freeloader has resided with you for so long, you may have to go through formal eviction proceedings to get rid of him. You have given him a free ride, and you may need the services of a lawyer to pry him out of there. If you do, consider it money well spent.

Dear Abby: If a spouse keeps photos of a college sweetheart after 50 years, what does it mean? Does it mean he is still carrying a torch for that person and doesn't want to forget her? – Suspicious in Houston

Dear Suspicious: I doubt it, but if you want to be sure, the person you should ask is your husband. After 50 years, the "torch" may be too heavy to carry – or completely out.

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.

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