Abby: Man says he wants divorce, but doesn’t leave

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but always managed to work our way through them. Last year, he decided he no longer wanted to be married, saying the last 20 years “were not all that pleasant” and “we have never really gotten along.” (As far as I know, there isn’t another woman.) For the most part, he still ACTS like he wants to be married. He has made no attempt to leave, tells me his comings and goings, asks me to have dinner together, etc. However, he sleeps on the couch and there’s no sex. He says he does this because he hopes we can stay friends after the divorce. I have yet to be served with divorce papers, so I’m thinking it may be a midlife crisis. Am I misreading his signals and he’ll snap out of it, or am I being strung along?

Anonymous In The USA

Dear Anonymous: You are confused because your husband is sending you mixed messages. Could he be having performance issues? Do you still love him? I ask because nowhere in your letter did you mention it. The two of you are overdue for an honest discussion about whether your marriage is salvageable. If it isn’t, ask him when and if he plans to file for the divorce, because this situation has left you in limbo, which is unfair to you. Then consult an attorney to ensure you get a fair shake.

Dear Abby: Common manners are going extinct quicker than the dinosaurs did. I was raised to open doors, stand up for women sitting down at the table, etc. Nowadays opening the door for most women feels like getting slapped in the face. There is no acknowledgment of any kind. Has our society disintegrated that far? These days if I open the door for someone and she doesn’t acknowledge the courtesy, I say, “Thank you!” loud enough for her to hear and watch the reaction.

Good Manners in Texas

Dear Good Manners: I agree that when a courtesy is extended, it should be acknowledged. However, if it isn’t, shouting at someone is rude and makes you appear more like a petulant boor rather than the genteel individual your parents raised you to be.

Dear Abby: I was at an estate sale recently and saw a woman scratch the price off an item. I gave her “the death stare,” but was there anything else I should have done? There were no staff around that I could see.

Unethical in the Midwest

Dear Unethical: Unless the woman was going to shoplift the item, she had to have given her money to someone on the premises. What you should have done was find someone who was staffing the sale and alerted him or her to what you observed.

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