DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 10 years. Four years ago, while waiting for our divorce to be finalized, I decided I'd start dating online and suggested she do the same. We were still friends, so I didn't think it was crossing any boundaries.
My online dating efforts were met with peculiar results. All of the six women I connected with either stood me up or made excuses why they couldn't or wouldn't meet me in person. Out of frustration I began dating my wife again and we canceled the divorce proceedings.
About a year after we got back together, my wife confessed that the women I had reached out to online were all fictitious personae that she had constructed with the intent of exhausting my search efforts. It worked.
We are now filing for divorce again, and I'm worried she may do the same thing. What can I do? -- SOUTHERN GUY
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DEAR SOUTHERN GUY: Because you think your wife might pull that stunt again, stop sharing any details of your online dating pursuits with her. Definitely refrain from telling her which sites you're using. (Use different ones than before.)
Or, hearken back to the good old days and try meeting people in person. The worst that could happen might be that you encounter your soon-to-be ex in various disguises -- but you know her well enough by now that you should be able to see through them.
DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to a wonderful man, and we will be married soon. We have been together two years and get along well. His parents live 35 minutes away and his mom doesn't drive.
The other day he commented that she wanted us to invite her over, as she hadn't been over in a year. I told him his mother is always welcome and should just call to make sure we are home. He then proceeded to tell me he wanted her to spend the night. He said that in his previous relationship, his mother would stay over occasionally.
I didn't know what to say, but at the age of 40, should he really be wanting sleepovers? It struck me as odd. I'm a private person and I'm not sure how to resolve this. I don't want him to feel I'm rejecting his mom, but I don't see why she needs to spend the night. I don't want to walk on eggshells with her, because she called and scolded me about how I spoke to her son several months ago. Advice? -- LADY OF THE HOUSE
DEAR LADY: Is there something you haven't mentioned? Why has it been a year since your fiance's mother has been invited to visit? Certainly in all this time you could have picked her up. A blanket "come anytime, just call first" isn't a proper invitation -- particularly if the person doesn't drive.
If you prefer she not be an overnight guest, I don't think your fiance should force it. And if you prefer that she not meddle in your relationship with her son, I hope you made it clear to her when she "scolded" you. Of course, it wouldn't have happened if her son hadn't tattled to her -- which should be a glimpse of what marriage to him may be like if you don't get this straightened out now.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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