Navigating Old and Lasting Relationships in a New Marriage


Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I recently got married to ‘Joel’, a man I love very much. Although we have our differences, we are firm in the knowledge that we love each other and are in this marriage for the long haul.
Our wedding photos just arrived and after going through them together I asked my husband to make a digital album to share with our family and friends as I am very busy with work. I had a moment to flip through the album he’d made and saw that he’d left out a picture of my male best friend “Logan” hugging me as Joel and I left the reception. It was a very special moment for me because I grew up with Logan and see his family as an extension of me.
When I explained this to my husband, he said he understands. I feel very hurt that this photo has been omitted. Joel has stated in the past that he doesn’t like me hugging men who aren’t related. It has been a point of contention between us and after a few long discussions on this subject I thought we had found a solution.
Before the wedding, I found out that Joel still had pictures of ex-girlfriends in his phone. When I confronted him about it, he said he kept them for memories but would delete them, which he did. Now that we’re married, I’ve noticed that he often brings up his past dating life. I asked him to stop, but he keeps doing it.
I feel like this is a double standard. I have to distance myself from male friends, but Joel gets to keep his connections with ex-girlfriends. I don’t know how to discuss this with him because it’s so early in our marriage. I could use some advice. — DISTURBED NEWLY MARRIED IN TEXAS
DEAR YOUNG MARRIED: You and your husband are late for a serious conversation. There is a difference between mentioning one’s past dating life and maintaining connections with those individuals. IF Joel keeps in touch with them, he has a double standard and you need to talk about it. You may need to keep reminding him that talking about his past romances makes you uncomfortable and asking why he persists despite knowing he does.
The photo of you and Logan hugging at the end of the reception may have been left out because it wasn’t a memory of your wedding day that your husband thought was relevant. Now that you’ve explained its meaning, ask Joel to add it if you can. But do it when you’re both calm and relaxed so that it’s not controversial and you can both clear the air.

DEAR ABBY: I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I’ve been very good at following a sugar-free, low-carb diet. The problem occurs when I eat outside my home. At birthday parties, I am filled with fear around food. If I say no to the sweet desserts, one of three things is guaranteed to happen: I’m accused of being skinny, I’m told the food is wasted because I don’t eat it, or I feel guilty for having admitted. I find myself refusing offers to eat out for fear of the inevitable. What can I say to people to make them respect my food restrictions? — FOOD FEAR IN NEW YORK
BEST VER: All you have to say is, “My doctor recently diagnosed me with pre-diabetes and I don’t want it to progress. So no thanks!”

Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order How to Be Popular. Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling charges are included in the price.)
(EDITING: If you have any editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, [email protected])
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