Dear Abby: Sparks fly when old flames reconnect



Dear Abby: I reconnected with an old flame, “Ollie,” eight years ago. We would see each other and catch up during a weekly event he hosted. We’re both married with kids. We kept it non-physical but connected emotionally. We chatted every day and confessed our attraction to each other while still not engaging in anything more than our weekly encounters among friends.

People often assumed we were husband and wife. At the time, I was going through a horrible period in my marriage. My husband, “Pete,” was emotionally abusive and one night even threatened to kill me. Pete and I went to couples counseling, and I went to counseling on my own.

During the first five years of reconnecting with Ollie, he was supportive, accepting and very kind. I fell in love with him, and he with me. We had one quick hug before I left for the holidays. When I returned, we had an intimate kiss. Then COVID hit. Obviously, there was no physical contact after that kiss, but we still talk nearly every day. We have seen each other at business functions among friends twice in three months.

Pete has actually changed and has apologized for how he treated me. We got along nicely during the quarantine. I am just no longer attracted to him. I no longer trust him. He knows nothing of my friendship with Ollie. I also don’t think Ollie will ever give in to his feelings for me. What can I do?

— Confounded in Iowa

Dear Confounded: Go back to your counselor. You have some heavy decisions to make about how you want to live the rest of your life. Remove Ollie from the equation and ask yourself if you really want to stay married to someone to whom you are no longer attracted and no longer completely trust.

Some people are so fearful of the prospect of being alone that they stay in empty or abusive relationships. Figure out whether you have the strength to go it alone, and you will have the answer to your question.

Dear Abby: I live in an over-55 condominium community in Florida. Overall, it’s calm and quiet, which is why I moved here. My favorite pastime and form of exercise is to go to the pool. However, some neighbors think nothing of playing their music loudly in the pool area.

I would never subject anyone else to my taste in music in such a public arena, and I can’t understand why they think they have the right to inflict it on other people without asking. I have spoken to them politely and asked that they refrain, but they continue to do exactly as they want. Any suggestions?

— Desperately Seeking Peace and Quiet

Dear Desperately: Because you have spoken to the neighbors about this with no success, I will offer some suggestions. The first would be to bring this to the attention of the manager and the board of directors of your condominium association. Consideration for others should not need to be written into the bylaws, but the sad reality is that sometimes it does.

Another solution could be as simple as the music lovers wearing ear buds to enjoy their music without bothering others. However, if that doesn’t solve the problem, you may have to invest in noise-canceling headphones for yourself.


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 DearAbby.com.



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