In a recent letter to Dear Abby, a concerned wife shared her struggle with her husband's past actions. Two years before they met, her husband solicited a prostitute during a dark period in his life. Despite being honest about it from the beginning of their relationship, this act continues to haunt the wife almost five years into their relationship, making her question his character. She has tried therapy and couples therapy, but nothing has helped her move on. The wife wonders if some actions are so awful that they stain a person for the rest of their lives and if their relationship is doomed.
In her response, Abby advises the wife to use some common sense and stop judging her husband for his past mistake. Abby points out that everyone makes mistakes, including herself, and encourages the wife to either accept her husband for who he is or free him to find someone who will appreciate him.
In another letter, a frustrated spouse seeks advice regarding their retired partner's excessive sleeping habits. The wife stays in bed for days on end, only getting up for basic necessities and neglecting household chores. Despite visiting various doctors, no physical issues have been found to explain her extreme fatigue. The spouse suspects that she may be taking prescription medication to induce sleep but denies it when confronted. Additionally, the wife has a history of childhood sexual abuse and is currently being treated for depression, yet refuses to see a psychiatrist. The frustrated spouse contemplates separation and wonders if it is advisable.
Abby suggests that the wife's excessive sleeping and loss of interest in activities are classic symptoms of severe, chronic depression, possibly triggered by retirement. She advises that the wife should be talking to someone, whether a psychiatrist or a psychologist working with a psychiatrist. Abby emphasizes that the wife appears to be very ill and her husband and doctor should insist on her seeking help.
In another letter, a person seeks guidance on a family blending issue. After quickly marrying someone with different parenting styles, the letter writer's daughters have accepted and come to love their stepfather. However, the stepfather's daughters have treated the letter writer with hostility and exclusion. The older one even prohibits the letter writer from being around her children. The stepfather always prioritizes his daughters and doesn't see his other children anymore. The letter writer fears being blamed for the strained relationship and is emotionally distressed. They seek advice on what to do.
Abby advises the letter writer to consult a licensed mental health professional to help alleviate the emotional burden caused by the family dysfunction. She suggests focusing on the relationship with the stepfather's other daughter and to distance oneself from the hostile stepdaughter. Abby emphasizes that it is not necessary to accept blame for something that is not their fault and that a true friend would support their spouse in their relationship with their children.
In a different letter, someone expresses frustration over their friend's hypochondriac tendencies. The friend is constantly complaining about health issues but does nothing to improve her situation. She has been visiting holistic doctors without success and has now made appointments with regular doctors. However, she has too much anxiety to go. The friend has been excluded from activities due to her constant sickness. The letter writer contemplates whether to share their thoughts about their friend's behavior or keep it to themselves.
Abby suggests that the friend's fear of going to a doctor who might uncover the cause of her problems is likely the reason for her reluctance. Instead of calling her unpleasant names, Abby advises the letter writer to encourage their friend to face her health issues and volunteer to accompany her to the appointment. Abby highlights that a true friend supports and helps, rather than casting judgment.
In a brief letter, a person writes to Abby about their husband's reluctance to continue paying for their frozen eggs. The writer expresses their disagreement, stating that if the husband reallocated his spending money, affording the continuation of freezing the eggs would be feasible. They express their desire to have a baby within the next year.
Abby recommends that the letter writer communicate the importance of having their own child to their husband. She suggests discussing the issue and determining if their husband's preference is for them to remain childless. If the husband misled the writer about his willingness to have a child, Abby suggests seeking advice from a family law attorney.
In the final letter, someone seeks advice on a gift they gave to a friend's daughter for her wedding. The gift was sent through an online registry, and a week later, the wedding was indefinitely postponed. The writer believes the right thing to do is for the couple to return the monetary gift but is unsure about the protocol in this situation.
Abby reassures the writer that it is within their right to ask for the gift to be returned since the wedding and honeymoon to which they contributed have been canceled. She suggests discussing it with the daughter first and, if necessary, informing the writer's friend. Abby also mentions that what the daughter did could be considered fraud.