DEAR ABBY: I’m a 50-year-old man who has been divorced twice. The last one was two years and eight months ago. Last year, I met a wonderful woman, and we have been dating and building a beautiful relationship together. A month ago, I proposed to her, and she accepted.
Everything is going great, but I’m intimidated by all the men she has been with prior to us. She had a lot of toxic relationships and was sexually active with a lot of different men. When we have sex, she tells me I’m not assertive enough and she wants me to be more aggressive. It makes me feel like she isn’t happy with me sexually and she will sooner or later look outside our relationship.
Am I right to feel this way? I don’t want to be in a relationship that will end because of our sex life. What should I do? — FEELING INADEQUATE IN UTAH
DEAR FEELING INADEQUATE: Good sex has everything to do with open communication between partners. Your lady friend’s past isn’t a problem unless you make it one. She is trying to tell you what she needs from you. If you are not clear on what that means, ask her to elaborate. If it’s not to your liking, be honest, but do not advance this relationship further until you get this worked out.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter “Claudia” has been dating and living with “Justin” — the boy next door. They moved to Florida months back and loved each day together. Then, the unthinkable happened. Justin’s father was diagnosed with a rare disease and died two weeks later. His last words to Justin were, “Take care of your mom.”
Justin and Claudia immediately returned to New York. Each day has been a nightmare with his mom. She ignores Claudia and talks only to her son. Justin is 25 and hasn’t lived at home for years. When she calls, she yells at him and he goes running to her. She no longer talks to us, although we had a nice relationship when her husband was alive.
Justin loves his mom, but he’s torn. What can my daughter do? Justin ignores how she’s being treated and the tears it has caused. It breaks my heart. We love and adore him. Please help. — HURTING FOR THEM
DEAR HURTING: Justin is going through a painful emotional period right now. If you have any influence on him, express to him that you are concerned for him and his mother, that she may need grief counseling beyond what he can offer her, and that he might also benefit from counseling until things settle down.
A licensed mental health professional would help him deal with his mother more effectively than he’s doing presently, as well as provide him with a safe place to vent. As to your daughter, tell Claudia this period probably won’t last forever, so she may want to give it time. If not, she’ll have to decide whether she needs to move on.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.