Q: My ex-husband and I have been back together for eight months. We were divorced for two years, during which time he remarried. We stayed in contact during his second marriage, and he says he still loves me, so he left her.
He’s now back with me after living on his own for a few months. I’m frustrated because he won’t commit to me again. He says he has forgiven me for what broke up our marriage, but he will never consider remarrying me.
He says he has lost faith in all women. He says that one marriage to me was enough and that he’s confused. He told me it’s fine with him if I put my rings back on. He introduces me as his wife when we’re out together but won’t divorce his second wife.
I know I’m coming on too strong and pressuring him to be the man he used to be. I just don’t think it’s right that he should get all the benefits of having his wife and children back with none of the commitment. Should I back off and give him time to heal, or am I trapping myself in a hopeless relationship that’s going to leave me a divorcee? — Hopeless in Missouri
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A: I think we both know the answer to that. Your ex has stated clearly that he will never consider remarrying you. Under these circumstances, your wedding rings should remain in the drawer. While he may introduce you as his wife, you are NOT his wife. His WIFE is his wife, which entitles her to all the rights and privileges of her status as a spouse according to the laws of Missouri.
Be prepared to give your ex plenty of time to “heal” WHILE LIVING ON HIS OWN. If he is confused, insist that he work his issues through with a therapist. Allowing him to stay with you while married to someone else was a mistake. You should have thought through how the arrangement might affect your children before you agreed to it.
Q: My mother comes from a large family. While most of the time everyone is kind and fairly respectful, there have been several occasions when gossiping family members have said hurtful things.
Most recently, a comment was made about my 29-year-old brother. He is unmarried and isn’t dating anyone. He works two jobs and also participates in fishing tournaments. Someone commented that he “must be gay” because he “has guys sleep over at his house” and “doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
For the record, my brother is straight. His fishing teammates sleep over because they leave at 3 a.m. for their tournaments.
This really annoyed my mom and me. It’s no one’s business how he chooses to live his life, straight or gay. While we try to distance ourselves from their comments, staying quiet about them is becoming more and more difficult. What can we say without sinking to their level? — Seething in Ohio
A: How about being direct: “My brother/son is not gay. Please stop spreading rumors about him that aren’t true because it’s really annoying.”
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.