Dear Abby: Man’s decisions in life are made to please everyone -- except himself

Man with headache

Gay man struggling with decision making. (Getty Images)

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 54-year-old gay man who has spent his life making decisions with everyone else in mind. Every decision, life choice, relationship and career move has been based on how I’m perceived by friends and family.

Currently, I’m living with my ex in my home. I’d like to live alone, but I feel responsible for his security. When I think about telling him I want to live separately, I feel like I’m letting him down. If I move, my family then has opinions on where I should live so I will stay in proximity to them. Also, we share dogs and I’m afraid if we split up the pack, I’m letting the dogs down.

All of this pressure results in me doing nothing. I have been drinking more to shut out the noise. I have considered giving up alcohol, but that will also disappoint many in my family because they like to drink. Please help me! -- GUILTY GUY IN MICHIGAN

DEAR GUY: If ever I’ve heard from someone who is in need of counseling, it is you -- so that you can get in touch with who YOU are and what YOU want. You have a right to do what makes you happy. If there’s an LGBTQ center near you, that would be the place to start. If there isn’t, get counseling wherever it’s available. If you want to quit drinking, just do it. If you are quiet about it, your family may not even notice. It may help you to think more clearly. The only thing you should NOT do is continue on the path you are on.

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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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)


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