Dear Abby: Maybe there is a good reason he doesn’t listen

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DEAR ABBY: I am responding to “Tired of Talking to Myself” (Feb. 13), whose husband’s ears slam shut when she begins to speak. This is not a problem that’s exclusive to men. Women do it as well. As a retired PA (physician’s assistant), when talking with patients, I would refer to it as selective hearing loss.

“Tired” needs to look at her own behavior because I have never seen one partner be the only guilty one. My wife can hear the ticking of the turn signal that wasn’t turned off, but she doesn’t always hear my questions or statements. There are many reasons it happens, but the way to resolve it is to listen when your partner talks to you. If you do, you will find that he/she returns the courtesy.

Perhaps if “Tired” gives a closer look to her own behavior, she’ll stop referring to it as a male problem. — FRANK IN PORTLAND, TEXAS DEAR FRANK:

Thanks for your letter. When I asked readers for input, they heard me loud and clear and gave me an “earful”:

DEAR ABBY: Focus is a strength for many men like me. I am a little hard of hearing and need to focus on what I am listening to. If you want open ears, hold my hands and make sure I am looking at your face. You will now have my attention. Tell me what you want from me. I want you to be happy and will do what I can for you. — A LITTLE HARD OF HEARING (CHUCK)

DEAR ABBY: Some researchers say women speak about 13,000 more words a day than men do. There’s a joke that explains it’s because we have to say everything twice! — JENNY IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR ABBY: Men have no patience. They only want to hear a brief, straight-to-the-point version. Women tend to tell the story from beginning to end with every detail explained so nothing is misunderstood. When men hear us talk, they will say all they hear is blah, blah, blah. “Tired,” if you try to be patient and use the abridged version, maybe communication will get easier with fewer repeats. — HEIDI IN FLORIDA

DEAR ABBY: I wonder what kind of things she’s saying to him. There’s a saying I have found to be true: “Men marry women and hope they never change. Women marry men and hope they will change.” I have been married for 35 years, and recently my wife has started pointing out every little thing I do that she thinks I should do differently. I have reached the point that when she starts one of her observations, I say, “Could you add it to your list and put it somewhere?” and that’s the end of the conversation. Nit-picking does not make for a great marriage. — TIM IN ARIZONA

DEAR ABBY: There are three words men always respond to: sex, food and money — not always in that order. Use one of those words when talking to them and you’ll always get a response. — BETH IN THE SOUTH

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.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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