He’s un­likely to change af­ter 32 years of ly­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: My hus­band, “Sam,” and I have been mar­ried for 32 years, and all these years he has lied con­tin­u­ally. It has got­ten so bad that I cringe ev­ery time we’re in­vited to fam­ily func­tions or get-to­geth­ers with friends. Sam uses these gath­er­ings to be the star of the show, spilling out the most out­ra­geous whop­pers you can imag­ine.

My fam­ily knows when he’s ly­ing or ex­ag­ger­at­ing about some­thing. They roll their eyes and nudge me to let me know they know. Sam fab­ri­cates the most out­landish sto­ries and never owns up to any­thing he has done wrong. In­stead, he blames me or oth­ers for his ac­tions. If I con­front or chal­lenge him, he gets de­fen­sive and says I’m “al­ways” be­lit­tling or chal­leng­ing him in front of oth­ers.

Abby, even though I still care for this man, I don’t have the re­spect I wish I had for him. What can I do? — DIS­EN­CHANTED IN THE LAND OF EN­CHANT­MENT

DEAR DIS­EN­CHANTED: Af­ter 32 years, there is noth­ing you can do about it. Your hus­band has a per­son­al­ity prob­lem — prob­a­bly re­lated to in­se­cu­rity — that causes him to lie to get at­ten­tion. It’s pa­thetic, re­ally. How­ever, to em­bar­rass him by point­ing it out in front of oth­ers is cruel and un­pro­duc­tive. Un­til he’s ready to ad­mit to him­self that he has dam­aged his cred­i­bil­ity so badly that no one be­lieves a word he says, noth­ing will change.

DEAR ABBY: My close friend “Kate” has just told me she’s get­ting a di­vorce. She con­fided that she cheated on her hus­band, “Phil,” and says she doesn’t want to try to work on her mar­riage, even though they have a baby to­gether. Kate says Phil is a great fa­ther and he’s not abu­sive — she just doesn’t love him any­more.

This came as a shock to me, and I’m not sure how to be sup­port­ive. When I di­vorced, my hus­band was the one who cheated and left me, so I know how Kate’s hus­band feels. I know I should be sym­pa­thetic to her, but I don’t know what to say. Can you help? — TRY­ING NOT TO JUDGE

DEAR TRY­ING: Con­tinue try­ing not to judge. It is un­der­stand­able that you’d iden­tify with Kate’s hus­band since his po­si­tion is so sim­i­lar to what you ex­pe­ri­enced. If you know and like him, be­friend him. I’m sure he could use a friend right now. Be­fore you do, how­ever, ask Kate if she would mind.

As to your ques­tion about what to say to her, all you re­ally need to do is ac­knowl­edge her an­nounce­ment by say­ing, “I’m sorry to hear it. I hope you have given it care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion.” Pe­riod.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 15. My fa­ther just started pay­ing child sup­port three years ago for my twin sis­ter and me. He only pays a small amount each month, and he has never paid any med­i­cal or health bills for ei­ther of us.

Re­cently we found out he lied about his monthly salary so he wouldn’t have to pay for us. I’m re­ally hurt be­cause I feel like he doesn’t care about us. How do I cope? Help! — IN­CRED­I­BLY HURT IN THE SOUTH

DEAR IN­CRED­I­BLY HURT: While I can un­der­stand your dis­ap­point­ment in your fa­ther’s lack of char­ac­ter, please do not al­low his fail­ures to make you think less of your­self. His be­hav­ior shows he doesn’t care about any­one but him­self. Now that you and your mother know he lied about his in­come, it’s pos­si­ble the child sup­port he didn’t pay can be col­lected retroac­tively. If your mother hasn’t dis­cussed this with an at­tor­ney, she should do it now.

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