Dear Abby: Man fumes when longtime girlfriend redecorates

DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for nine years. Over the last three months or so we have been fighting. It started when I bought a cabinet for our bathroom. When he came home, he threw a hissy fit about it. He told me he didn't like it and kept yelling at me "'cause I didn't ask his opinion first." Then he proceeded to tell me if I want to make changes to get my own house. During another fight the other day, he told me if I "need a new address" he would help me move. 

I love him, but the things he says really hurt me. I don't feel the same love for him that I did before. I'm so ready to be on my own. I was controlled for 24 years by my ex-husband. I don't want to be controlled anymore. My boyfriend seems to want things his way or no way at all. I definitely could use your advice on this situation.

— CONTROLLED AGAIN IN OHIO

DEAR CONTROLLED: In a premarital relationship, there is the concept of "mine" and "yours." When people marry, it changes to "us" and "ours." When your boyfriend of nine years pointed out that you are living in "his" house and you should have consulted him before trying to make changes, his point was valid. In his mind, your relationship hasn't progressed to the next stage. 

If you are sincere about being ready to be on your own again, then that is what you should do, because the intensity of this romance appears to be waning on both your parts. However, whatever you decide, DO NOTHING IN ANGER. Talk this out if it's possible. If you do, it may save your relationship. However, if that's not possible, you will be able to move on with fewer regrets.

DEAR ABBY: I have two grown daughters I love very much. Although I have a great relationship with the younger one, my relationship with my older daughter has always been more work. We don't argue, but she's much less connected to me. She lives in Chicago; I'm in Texas. She never calls or texts unless she needs money or air miles. If I text her, she often doesn't respond. She also forgets my birthday and Mother's Day. 

I just learned she came to town, stayed with my parents for a week and didn't tell me she was coming. How do I react? Should I tell her how hurt I am, continue as though nothing has happened or start treating her the way she treats me? When I have tried to talk to her in the past, it seemed to make things worse. I can't imagine cutting her out of my life, but I am tired of this one-way relationship.

— HEARTBROKEN MOM

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: By avoiding you and not communicating directly, your daughter is sending you a strong message. You do not have to cut her out of your life because it appears she has pretty much cut you out of hers. This sorry situation won't be fixed unless the two of you can have a meaningful dialogue without her — or you — becoming defensive. If your parents understand what the problem is, perhaps they can explain it to you. However, if they can't give you some insight, then for your own sake, concentrate on the daughter who behaves like one.

About Dear 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.