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Dear Abby,

My husband, who is 81 and in excellent health, just suggested that when we feel we can no longer live independent lives (I’m 72), we should get closer to his daughter in another state so that she and her husband can help us.

Abby, I don’t love her husband, and I don’t want to depend on him, be beholden to him, or even socialize with him. In the 15 years that I have known him, we have never had a conversation. At first I tried, but he can’t relate to older women. Apparently, he didn’t have a good relationship with his mother. His only topics of conversation are his dogs, his weapons or his sports. None of these things interest me.

It breaks my heart that my husband and I may not be spending the last years of our lives together. I’m sure my husband would tell me to “get over” my dislike of his daughter’s husband. Should I agree to be with someone I have nothing in common with? I also don’t like the part of the country they live in.

— Nervous in New Mexico

My late mother once told me that parents who rely on their adult children to “take care of them” in their old age often face a rude awakening. You and your husband are meant to be equal partners in this marriage. If you not only like the man his daughter is married to, but also the part of the country they live in, there is no law forcing you to move. I recommend that you have that difficult discussion with your spouse soon, preferably in the office of a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Dear Abby,

I have been in an on-and-off relationship with a woman for three years. We live about two hours apart. At first, our relationship was wonderful. We saw each other regularly and chatted via text and video almost daily. We even talked about marriage.

But over time, she became more and more distant. She would take forever to answer me or not answer at all. His excuse was work. She was always working and always had something to do. I then discovered that she was dealing with some personal issues. When I explained to her that relationships are about communication, she disagreed.

At one point I was so upset and angry and frustrated that I said horrible things to her. I even used foul language because she was not communicating. Besides, she didn’t even bother to take two minutes of her time to wish me a happy birthday. I always remember her on her birthday.

She makes me look like the bad guy. I am so hurt and angry with her for her refusal to communicate. Abby, what else can I do? Am I really the wrong person here?

— Uncertain in Pennsylvania

Although you refuse to acknowledge it, this woman has communicated with you. Her demeanor indicates that she is nowhere as interested in you as you are in her, which should have become apparent as she grew more and more distant.

You’re not a bad person, and neither is she. She’s just afraid to tell you the bad news verbally. In cases like this, there’s nothing you can do but tell her that it’s obvious she’s not as invested in the relationship as you are and walk out graciously.

dear Abby

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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Couple’s Golden Years Grow Darker

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