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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Woman's boyfriend preoccupied with her previous relationship

by Abigail Van Buren | February 5, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

DEAR ABBY: My sister "Darby" and I are in our 20s and confused about the relationship she is in. She's 23 and has been dating a 22-year-old man. They fight a lot because he can't stop talking about her ex-boyfriend. He says he visualizes her having sex with him, and is frustrated with himself for not being able to get the images out of his head. Is there a name for this particular problem, and how can Darby work with it? -- SUPPORTIVE SIS IN THE WEST

DEAR SIS: Yes, actually, there are two names for this "condition." They are obsession and jealousy, and both are signs of potential control issues. Stay close to your sister and be there for her, because this young man's behavior is a red flag.

Darby and her boyfriend are both adults. I assume neither came to the relationship wrapped in cellophane. His fixation should not be hers (or yours) to fix. Because he can't get the images out of his head, he should schedule a few sessions with a licensed psychotherapist, since his problem will continue the longer he is in the dating world.

DEAR ABBY: I moved in with my boyfriend six years ago. A year ago, his adult daughter decided she would have all her internet purchases sent to his home. Abby, these packages arrive every day, all week long. I'm tired of it. I think she's a spend-aholic.

I told him at the beginning of our relationship that I would never come between him and his daughter. But it has become a bit much. She calls him for every little thing. Now she she has started asking him to help with his granddaughter's homework. I have two adult children of my own and grandchildren. Am I overreacting? I'm ready to move out and on. -- OVER IT AND OUT

DEAR OVER IT: Before moving out and on, discuss this with your boyfriend of six years. His daughter seems to be unusually dependent for an adult. Is there a reason why she's doing these things? Could she be fearful that the packages she's ordering could be stolen from her porch? Does her daughter need more help academically than she is able to provide? The answers to those questions could be enlightening. After you get those answers, there will be time to make a rational (rather than emotional) decision about the status of the relationship you have with her father.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 52-year-old single, straight male. For some reason, only men seem to be attracted to me. If I sit at a table in a restaurant or bar, a man will come over and sit next to me. If I go to the park, a man will sit next to me on the bench. Walking down the street, random men approach me. It's terrible. I'm straight! Please help! -- UNIQUE PROBLEM IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR UNIQUE PROBLEM: Because you're not meeting women, try to put yourself in situations where you will meet them. Because you are consistently approached by men and you're not interested, consider asking them if they have a female relative who's single. And when you encounter a woman you think you can click with, speak up and introduce yourself.


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