Dear Abby • I am writing this with overwhelming sadness. My 75-year-old husband is a tyrant. Our neighbors hate him, and so do our children. He is an overbearing, impetuous child.
I cry every day. I can’t talk to him without him yelling. I am a subservient person. How do I go on with this? He is very healthy. I try so hard, and I have no life. He says mean things to me all the time. Please give me some advice. — Floundering in Florida
Dear Floundering • Please start asking yourself why you think you deserve the verbal abuse you receive from your husband and why you tolerate his bullying. Were you raised this way? What message has it send to your children? Then remind yourself that we have only one life to live. Is this how you intend to spend it until the day you die or he does?
Gather all the information you can regarding your husband’s (and your) finances. Once you have that information, contact a lawyer who specializes in family law. I can’t change your husband and neither can you. But you CAN change the way you react to his verbal abuse by refusing to tolerate it any longer.
Dear Abby • My wife and I are retired and fortunate to travel often throughout the year. We prefer to stay in homes either through a home exchange or home rental by owner.
The change in scenery unfailingly increases her libido, and she often tries to initiate lovemaking at bedtime. I have told her I’m not comfortable having sex in another couple’s bed. I feel it’s disrespectful of their space and violates the trust the owners place in us by letting us use their house. She views it as the same as a hotel room since we pay to rent the house. Are there generally accepted practices regarding this? — Able But Not Willing
Dear Able • The generally accepted practice is to leave the property in the pristine condition in which you found it. This does not mean you and your wife must live a monklike existence while you are there, and I’m sure no one would expect you to.
Dear Abby • Six years ago, I retired to care for my wife of 34 years. She was on multiple meds and wheelchair-bound, suffering from high blood pressure, alcohol and nicotine addiction, chronic depression, morbid obesity, advancing kidney failure, severe arthritis and worsening dementia.
Throughout the remainder of her difficult life, I was her only caregiver. Her son and daughter were “too busy” to help, although they live only a few minutes away. (Her “too busy” daughter didn’t even have a job.) During the final year of my wife’s struggle, not once did they visit her.
After she died, they spread the word on social media that she died because I didn’t take care of her. I don’t know if it was to deflect criticism from themselves or to assuage a guilty conscience (if they even have one). What kills me is they told that same lie to my grandchildren, and I can’t call and tell them the truth. My son-in-law threatened the kids that if they spoke to me, he would take away their phones.
It has been a year and a half, and this mess still breaks my heart. Any suggestions? — Unhappy Grandpa
Dear Grandpa • Unless there is a chapter missing from your letter, what your children have done is not only inexplicable but also despicable. To alienate you from your grandchildren is heartless.
However, what’s done is done. You know you did everything you possibly could for your late wife. Now go, live your life to the fullest and stop looking back because you richly deserve every GOOD thing life brings your way.
Dear Abby • My friends are getting married, and I am excited for them. I was there for their engagement and helped set it up for him. I consider them both my best friends. They mean the world to me.
My issue is, they had an engagement party, invited all her girlfriends and asked them to be bridesmaids. I wasn’t asked to be in the wedding or even invited to the party. I’m trying not to be hurt by it because I understand it is their day, but it makes me feel I’m not as important as I thought I was to them. What do I do? — Left-Out Best Friend
Dear Left Out • This has to have been a painful wake-up call, and for that you have my sympathy. Best friends are not treated the way you were. What you do now is recognize that the time has come to reorganize your “friends” list, downgrade the two of them to the “acquaintances” category and broaden your social circle.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.