Abby: Married woman with lover happy with things

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I met a man eight years ago who has become everything to me. We see each other weekly and discuss life, work, home and more. We are married to other people. Our relationship is not only emotional, but also physical. We are secretive about it only with our children — we appear in public together, and my spouse knows about it. Many people at our regular venues comment on how much in love we seem to be. A few of my friends are privy to our relationship and wonder when we’re leaving our spouses to be together.

My question is: Can’t it just be OK to be happy with what we have? We enjoy the times we have traveled, talked and loved. I am virtually ignored by my spouse, as is he. The time he has been in my life is the happiest I have ever been. But I don’t want more. It’s hard to explain. People think I’m in denial, but I’m not.

He has issues I don’t want full time, I suppose everyone does, and I wouldn’t want to ruin what we have. Thoughts?

Part-Time Lover

Dear Part-time: You and your lover have “an arrangement’’ that seems to work not only for you, but also for your spouses. Because you are so open about it, I’m surprised your children haven’t caught wind of it. My question to you would be what you and this man plan to do when they find out, because I don’t think you can keep it from them forever.

Dear Abby: My mother won’t stop nagging me about marriage. She insists that I “must” be married by the age of 22 and have kids by 25, which I think is inconceivable. Abby, I’m only 17. Marriage and boys are the last things on my mind.

I have told her that her “talks” make me uncomfortable and I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon (if ever), but she won’t let up. She keeps saying she knows she’s right, and that when I’m 22 I’ll thank her, which I know isn’t going to happen. Other than this, she’s great and we don’t have any other problems.

She has been saying this a lot recently because I’m going off to college this year, and that’s where she thinks I’ll find a husband. How can I get through to her?

Virgin Territory

Dear Virgin Territory: It would be interesting to know why your mother feels this way. Could she have been born and raised in a culture in which early marriage and motherhood are expected of women?

With her mindset, I don’t think you will “win” an argument with her over this. Be patient with her and when she raises the subject, point out that women of your generation are expected to complete their education and be able to support themselves financially before they marry, in case the need arises later (i.e. divorce or widowhood). It’s a fact. Women in the United States — particularly college-educated women — are now marrying and having children later than they did a generation ago.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.