Dear Abby: Romance with prison inmate evolves into love triangle

DEAR ABBY: I am a 42-year-old mother of three who has been in a relationship with a man for almost six years. He is incarcerated. We started out as friends. Things were great until this year, when he reconnected with an old girlfriend. 

I had a conversation with her over Facebook, and she wanted to invite me out for coffee one day. I ended up messaging her later on that night, and she told my boyfriend I had "made her uncomfortable." She ended up blocking me on Facebook. 

Abby, he's now saying he's in love with both of us! I'm not allowed to talk about her, and anything they talk about is "none of my business." I do not get as many phone calls from him as I used to, and I think it's because of her. I'm not sure what her plans are, but I get the feeling she's trying to get me out of the picture. Please tell me what to do. 

— CROWDED IN ALASKA

DEAR CROWDED: Forgive me for seeming negative, but from what you have written, I don't think this man is in love with either one of you. What you should "do" is reassess your relationship with this two-timing felon. His ex-girlfriend may indeed be maneuvering to get you out of the picture, and my advice to you, which I sincerely hope you will follow, is to LET HER DO IT. You may have started out as "friends" with this man, but friends do NOT treat friends the way he has been treating you.

DEAR ABBY: I've read many letters over the years about relationships in which there is a significant age gap, and thought I would like to share a success story. My boyfriend and I have a 22-year age difference, and we couldn't be happier. We are both divorced with children (his is grown and lives independently; mine are 14 and 11). We found each other about a year before the pandemic. He was above the age range I'd specified on online dating apps, but we met at a mutual friend's art opening. There were immediate sparks, and we didn't realize our age difference until about a week later. By then the seeds of a mature, non-codependent relationship were sprouting.

He's 60 now, and I am 38. We live separately, but go back and forth between the houses most nights. He's actively engaged in my kids' lives, and we're talking about marriage. Because of our age difference, this includes discussing wills, estate planning and the hurdles that come with retirement and raising high schoolers, but we do it with great respect for where the other is in their own journey. This is the best relationship either of us has ever been in. I'm so glad we didn't let our age difference prevent us from enjoying this life together. 

— LUCKIEST GIRL IN TEXAS

DEAR LUCKIEST GIRL: When both parties are adults with experience in the world, age is only a number. While there can be challenges in May-December unions, you and your boyfriend appear to be looking at the future with eyes wide open. Thank you for your upper of a letter.

Golfer's vaccination status complicates weekly outings

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with one player in our weekly golf group. He hasn't been vaccinated and won't wear a mask. Our group is mostly older players who all share golf carts. Everyone in the group has been vaccinated except this one person. 

As the group coordinator, I prearrange the foursomes every week. Several of the players have informed me they do not want to share a cart with the unvaccinated person. In some cases, they have paid additional cart costs in order to avoid riding with him. As you can imagine, it becomes a problem for me trying to put the groups together each week. How should I handle this? 

— SPORTSMAN IN ARIZONA

DEAR SPORTSMAN: Poll the entire group about how they feel about riding with an unvaccinated person. If the majority of the players are uncomfortable sharing a cart with him, tell him he will have to reserve his own cart and ride solo if he wishes to continue participating in the group. If this seems harsh, perhaps those members who don't mind riding with him — if there are enough of them — would agree to ride with him permanently. You won't know unless you ask. 

DEAR ABBY: My husband of 42 years wanted to move to the Northwest. We initially fell in love with it and lived there for four years. I found work, made friends and enjoyed myself immensely. My husband kept traveling back to Southern California for work, and decided he no longer wanted to live up north. I protested, but he didn't want to hear it, so we moved back down again. 

Now, after the pandemic year and having lived in our home less than two years, he wants to move back to the Northwest because "it's too hot, too crowded, etc., here." I gave him my opinion, and a huge fight ensued. I never wanted to move back south, but he was belligerently insistent. I'm not sure what to think anymore. Any advice? 

— NORTH VS. SOUTH

DEAR N. VS. S.: Your husband appears to rule the roost. Moving is challenging, particularly if you're stuck with the responsibility of packing up your household. Frankly, I am more concerned about the fact that he's unwilling to listen to your concerns than about the inconvenience, but after all these years, I'm not sure that's fixable. 

On the plus side, you stated that you "loved" living in the Northwest, found work you enjoyed and made friends. If you return to the area in which you were living, you may be able to renew those relationships, so concentrate on the positive. If your husband flip-flops again, you can then decide whether to live separately in the location of your choice.

TO MY READERS: The eight days of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begin at sundown. (Very EARLY this year!) Happy Hanukkah, everyone! A joyous Festival of Lights to all of us. 

— LOVE, ABBY

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.