Cousin desperate to help woman in abusive romance

DEAR ABBY: I have always been extremely close to my cousins; we even call ourselves sisters. The problem I have is with the boyfriend of one of them. They have been dating for almost 10 years.

During the first years, we were all close and I liked spending time with them. The past three years, however, have been heartbreaking. He is rude to her and her mother and belittles and ridicules everything she says and does. We all walk on eggshells when he’s around, not to mention he’s constantly staring at our chests.

They recently moved to hours for his work. I feel like he deliberately isolated her from all of us and abused her mentally and emotionally. She wanted to get married and start a family with him, but now she calls me selfish because I’m pregnant. He drags her down and has bought himself more time by getting her a dog.

Even if they get engaged, I would be sad if she spent her life with this man. If he treats her like that in front of all of us, what is he doing behind closed doors? My cousin is very proud and closes all criticism. How do I explain to her that I’m worried about her without risking our relationship? – FEAR FOR HER IN THE EAST

DEAR FEAR: Tell your cousin that you love her very much and that you will only say it once, so that she will remember it. So tell him what you wrote to me. Explain that abusers erode the self-esteem of their “love object” by constantly criticizing and putting them down. Let’s say you realize she’s invested 10 years of her life in this relationship, but if she ever has any doubts or changes her mind about living away from family, you’ll be there for her. Then give him contact information for the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233; if there have been any instances of him hitting or threatening her – or the dog – when angry .

DEAR ABBY: My husband won’t do anything unless I “remind” him. He has a medical problem and experiences painful symptoms if he forgets to take the medication prescribed by his doctor. He will then have a relapse, take his meds and not take them again until another relapse occurs.

Plus, he’ll have to have an important doctor’s appointment for a procedure and he won’t even think of calling to schedule it. I used to remind him of all these things but, frankly, I’m not his mother. I am his wife. Please help. — NOT HIS MOTHER

DEAR NOT HIS MOTHER: Being a loving spouse requires us to fulfill different roles in the life partnership. Not only are we lovers, best friends and sometimes nurses, but sometimes we have to act as “parents”.

It’s hard to believe that someone with a chronic condition that causes painful flare-ups forgets to take medication that would prevent them, which makes me wonder about your husband’s mental state. Visits to the doctor can sometimes be uncomfortable, which is perhaps why he is hesitant to schedule them.

If you love him, please take on this responsibility as you would want him to if the situation were reversed.

DEAR ABBY: My niece met a guy. Two months later, they got engaged. A week later, she married him. Now, a year later, she wants to get married. Is it appropriate? Does she just want a big show and presents? People laugh about it, and that’s not what I was brought up to do. Am I wrong to think it’s a disgrace to our family? — OWN LADY IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR OWN LADY: It’s not inconvenient for your family. It’s a shame for your niece. The ship sailed on its “big show and giveaways” fantasy. If she wants to throw a party to celebrate her first birthday (once the rules on gatherings and social distancing ease), she should go ahead and do it. But I doubt she’ll get anything other than warm congratulations.

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