Dear Abby: I wanted to write to you for many years, but my ex-husband found it “funny”. We were married for 29 years and rarely quarreled, which led me to believe we had a wonderful marriage. Then, 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy and I was on chemotherapy for a year.
Shortly after the mastectomy we went on vacation and my husband started scolding me. He even hit me. When chemotherapy led to the fact that I lost my appetite, he told me that if I wasn’t going to eat, I shouldn’t come to dinner because he didn’t like that I got all the attention. Believe me, I was not looking for attention. Nine years ago, he announced he was filing for divorce because my health was disrupting the deal. (“In Sickness and in Health” was not off the table.) Once, when I needed his support, I found myself ONE.
I looked at the statistics and saw that 80% of men go out when their wife is sick. I felt sick. All the while I was going through hell, he was on dating sites looking for a healthy partner, ignoring the pain and suffering I was feeling without caring other than not letting my different girlfriends know about each other.
My advice to other women: don’t forget to lay an egg as insurance to help you get through life without your “partner”. For 29 years I have been married to a complete stranger – a selfish jerk – and I am determined to keep going, at least to his detriment. – USED IN CALIFORNIA
Dear survivor: Your offer to save money in case of an emergency is good for all women, not just for those who may be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. However, I am sure that the statistics you have given about the number of men who leave their wives when the situation gets tough may be inappropriate. Although desertion certainly happens, almost 80% of men are not selfish, insulting throwbacks like the one you married. Although I do not accuse you of anger, but for your own sake, please do not allow “anger” to be your only cause of life. What a waste of time that would be.
Dear Abby: I was lucky to be the mother of two healthy children. Sometimes I come across other moms whose children have severe food allergies or special needs. I’m afraid that when addressing them, I’m saying the wrong thing.
Parenthood is a problem, and for some it is more difficult than for others. I sympathize with their additional challenge. However, when I said that, they were offended. Because of this I lost a close friend. What is the appropriate response when such a situation arises? – SILENCE IN ARIZON
Dear Silent: Parents of children with special needs do not seek sympathy. If you are told about a child’s food allergies, thank the mother for warning you, and reassure her that if her child is with you, you will be especially careful to make sure he or she is safe.
Written by “Dear Abby” 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 mailbox 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.