DEAR ABBY: My husband gets very upset when our 4 year old sons don’t share his enthusiasm for something that excites him. He wants them (and me) to jump for joy or clap when he gets excited about something. The problem is that he tends to share his news when we’re getting ready for bed or just plain tired. I feel guilty for not nodding, but at the same time, I don’t want to pretend. Any suggestions for a compromise please? — AT LOSS IN TEXAS
EXPENSIVE AT A LOSS: Explain to your husband that you’re “sorry” that he’s upset about the lack of enthusiasm he feels when he’s excited about something, but his TIME isn’t right. If he expects you and the kids to be his cheering section, it would help if he timed his announcements so they don’t conflict with bedtime, when the level of energy is high. everyone’s energy is low.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for over two years. We had our wedding reception at a club with live music, and we went there every Saturday night to listen to the music. We divorced shortly after our marriage because he had frequent violent outbursts. After our divorce, he called and asked if we could go on a date. When I went out with him, it was great. We listened to the musicians and no one knew we were divorced.
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My ex had serious surgery, which I helped him through, but due to a later violent episode on his part, I have now severed all ties with him. I would like to go back to listen to the musicians, but I don’t know what to say when they ask me where he is. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. — UNCERTAIN LOVER
DEAR MUSIC LOVERS: When asked, all you have to say is, “John” and I are no longer a couple, so you won’t see him with me anymore. I may have broken up with my husband, but I didn’t fall out of love for your music.” There’s no need to share details beyond that.
DEAR ABBY: My grandparents were very generous. They provided for me in a way my parents couldn’t when I was a kid. They allowed me to take music lessons and vacations, travel with them, and pay for my college education. They also launched an investment fund for me which has grown well.
Now that I’m married (I’m 37, my husband is 42), we’re financially stable and getting some financial advice, and we’ve decided to put those funds into another form of investment. The problem is that Grandma opposes any modification of these gifts and puts pressure on us. How can I thank her for her generosity and let her know that we are managing our finances now? — CUT THE APRON STRINGS
DEAR CUT: Start by telling your grandmother again how grateful you are for all that she has contributed over these many years. Explain your investment plans for the accumulated money and your reasons for wanting to change. If she has concerns, listen to them and suggest that she discuss them with the financial adviser you are considering employing, which may ease her worries.
DEAR ABBY: My parents divorced when I was 4 years old. I’ve had a problem with insecurity and jealousy for as long as I can remember. I have two older sisters who are twins and a half-brother my stepmother and father had when I was 18.
My sisters have always been popular and favored children because they were twins. My grandparents would take them to twin contests and constantly brag about their talents. I was born legally blind. I can see, but not well. I had learning disabilities and was always overweight.
I was bullied at school and had few friends. My sisters were popular and talked about at school. I have close friends since childhood, especially my best friend, whom I have known since kindergarten. Our friendship lasted through my best and worst times. My family considers him part of our family.
One of my sisters always talks to him. She even went to visit him without telling me. I feel like whenever we’re all together, I’m ignored. I don’t doubt our friendship, but I can’t help but feel left out when it comes to my sister. She used to lie to me about going to lunch and visiting her out of state.
I feel like they are hiding things from me. How do I overcome my insecurities and jealousy? My sister says I’m childish. I was always in the shadow of the twins. How can I overcome this? — LEFT OUT IN WISCONSIN
DEAR LEFT: I understand what you’ve been through, but you’re no longer a child. It’s time to stop competing with that sister. She shouldn’t have snuck out with your best friend, and he shouldn’t have encouraged her. That said, however insecure a person may feel, they have no right to dictate to others what they can or cannot see – all of this only breeds resentment.
You may have less anxiety if you interact less with the twins and focus on your own separate relationships. Figure out what interests give you pleasure and get involved in activities with like-minded people.
DEAR ABBY: I’m approaching a big college reunion next year. Several of us former roommates are looking forward to spending the weekend together and attending some of the official reunion activities. None of the others plan to bring a spouse or partner. My partner did not attend our university, although he knows some girlfriends. He wants to attend.
How can I tell him that it will be more relaxed and fun for me if I don’t have to worry about whether he likes events when he knows few people and doesn’t have the common history that the rest of the group appreciates? — GO SOLO IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR GO SOLO: Explain it to your partner exactly as you explained to me – that this is not a couples event and none of your former roommates are bringing their partner. If he still insists on coming, he shouldn’t expect you to entertain him.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is in his 40’s and is permanently disabled from injuries sustained in a recent car accident. He is in pain, takes painkillers 24 hours a day, and sleeps most of the day. Her pain and stillness make intimacy impossible.
He doesn’t object when I go out with friends or participate in activities he is unable to do, such as hiking, biking, or kayaking, but I feel guilty leaving him home alone for five days a week, and sometimes all weekend. His mom thinks I’m a terrible person for doing this, but I can’t stay home with him after I get home from work because he falls asleep watching TV.
We both know this will be the situation for the rest of our lives. This personal care is very important for my physical and mental well-being, as the financial stress is also overwhelming. How can I continue to lead an active life while being the woman he needs? — SAD DESTINY IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR SAD DESTINY: If the situation were reversed, is this how you would like your husband to treat you? It’s an honest discussion you should have with him. I will be frank. Leaving a disabled spouse five days (nights?) a week or for a whole weekend on a regular basis seems excessive.
You promised to love, honor and cherish this sick and healthy man. Would it be possible to include him in an occasional outing – if he can bear it – so he can get some fresh air and a change of scenery? If you have to go out to preserve your sanity, it would be compassionate to have someone stay with him so he isn’t alone in an emergency.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 28 year old female. I started falling in love with a girl I met recently. We talked for a while, expressed feelings for each other and decided to start dating. She lives in Minnesota and I’m in Texas. She is also in college. I think she’s 18 or 19. I know our age range is a little wide, but we didn’t care.
Things were going well, but recently she went quiet and didn’t speak to me as often. She said she just needed some time for herself and was thinking about it all. I talked to her about it and she told me that she still loves me and wants me to come visit her, which I plan to do soon. I feel like she has cold feet and I don’t know what to do. I love it. I want it to work between us, but I feel unwanted and unloved. What should I do? — BEGIN TO LOSE FAITH
DEAR BEGINNING: What you should do is recognize that you and this young woman are at very different places in your life. You are ready for a serious commitment to someone. She is a student who is not yet out of adolescence. If she needs time to herself to figure out if she’s ready for the type of relationship you have in mind, give it to her. Don’t force it. If that means postponing your visit, so be it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for almost five years. We don’t live together but we see each other every other day. Recently, we had a row about him following girls showing off their butts on Instagram. This is not the first time that I ask him to delete the photos; it’s the third one, actually.
Every time I call him on it, he pretends he’s just browsing through them, but he gets mad at the same time or insists he’s not paying any attention. He promises not to follow them anymore but never does. I also feel very insecure because when we first started seeing each other he made a comment about wanting to pay to have my butt enhanced. What should I do? — CONSTRAINED BY BUTTONS
Dear disturbed: Maybe you should spend less time staring at his cell phone. If your boyfriend is caring, loyal, and treats you well, you may need to learn how to deal with your insecurities. Many men look at photos on the Internet and this is not a threat to their relationships.
That said, however, if your boyfriend’s ideal woman is one with a prominent posterior, you may not be the one for him. And as for his comment about enlarging yours – of course that would be your choice, not his, so don’t be pressured. And, please be aware that unless cosmetic surgery is performed by a certified physician, the results can be unfortunate. It is also very expensive and the procedure is not “minor” surgery.
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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069