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Three’s more than a crowd

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend is 18 years younger than I am. Our relationship hasn’t been perfect, but I love him to death. Unfortunately, I’m going through menopause and have all the side effects. Long story short, he found another girl. It was just supposed to be for sex, and he told me he wouldn’t get into another relationship or marry anyone but me. Well, he fell for her, which I warned him he was going to do.

They are both at my apartment. I’m trying to make him happy by allowing this, but he can be so mean to me, and he’s so nice to her. He tells me how nice she is, etc. I told him it’s because he hasn’t hurt her yet. He won’t have sex with me now. He claims he isn’t favoring her, but he is.

I love him so much, and don’t want to lose him. I’m in so much pain because I can’t please him in every way. I don’t know what to do. Should I allow this and try to make it work, or should I give up because it seems like he has given up on me? – Can’t Stop Crying

DEAR CAN’T STOP: Let me get this straight. Your much-younger boyfriend and his new girlfriend live in your apartment (rent-free), and he no longer makes love with you. What are you getting out of this charade besides pain?

If I thought it would help, I’d advise you to stick it out and hope his romance will blow over. But I can’t – because whatever respect and gratitude he felt for you is gone. The pain you are experiencing will end only when you find your self-respect and usher the two lovebirds out the door. For your own sake, please do it soon.

DEAR ABBY: I am super outgoing. Always have been. I can walk up to anyone and start a conversation. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that many people have no personality. During the pandemic it became exponentially worse. Neighbors don’t speak. People look at their phones every waking minute and have lost their conversational skills. It is pathetic.

I don’t know people’s backgrounds or interests just by looking at them. I’m smart, but I’m not telepathic. If people don’t know how to simply say “hi” or “good morning,” something is wrong! COVID-19 shut things down. But if you weren’t friendly before the pandemic, how are you going to be five years from now? Humanity is doomed if we don’t interact. – Friendly in the East

DEAR FRIENDLY: The COVID-19 disruption may have contributed to what you are describing, but it had been building for at least the past 20 years. As people became more and more fixated on their electronic devices, the ability to look someone in the eye and converse withered.

If you don’t look someone in the eye and communicate in person, the ability to read social cues withers and is eventually lost. I believe this has caused much of the isolation and loneliness we are experiencing in our society. If we are going to fix this, people will have to teach themselves to unplug and reach out to the people around them. Making the time to exchange social amenities as simple as smiling and saying, “Good morning,” is an easy place to start.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.