Dear Abby: Now that he’s retired, my husband thinks he’s exempt from housework

Woman hates her life and considers divorcing the man who watches TV all day and refuses to cook, clean, shop or do anything else

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married more than 40 years. We are now retired and moved to a small town a few years ago. My problem is my husband does almost nothing to help out around the house. I do the housekeeping, shopping, cooking, bill paying and most of the extensive outdoor upkeep. Although I was the primary breadwinner during our marriage, my husband thinks his “work” is now over.

He watches TV all day long, but when he does want to get out and do something, it must always include me. I’m sick of his face at this point. I’m sure I’m short-tempered at times because everything falls on my shoulders. When I ask him to do something or offer my “two cents,” he accuses me of nagging and won’t talk to me for days.

I hate this life! I don’t think he would go to a marriage counselor because he feels I’m the problem. I think I want a divorce, but I don’t want this lazy bum to get half of everything I’ve earned and saved. Help! — IRKED IN IDAHO

DEAR IRKED: You have my sympathy, but you created this “monster” by tolerating your husband’s laziness and controlling nature all these years. Because he won’t talk to a marriage counselor doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. It’s important you learn coping skills to deal with his passive aggression, which is what the silent treatment is. If a licensed therapist can’t help to relieve the pressure on you, then make an appointment with a lawyer to discuss what options you may have short of divorce. I’m crossing my fingers that you have some.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I have begun planning our wedding for next year. We have both been married before, so family doesn’t think we should have a “big” celebration. Mom actually told me that it can’t be as special as my first one.

While lying in bed the other night, we were discussing how to address people’s opinions because we don’t want our wedding day to be full of people complaining about being there, choices we made regarding our celebration and thinking they need to give us a gift. We would like to include a “disclaimer” saying something like, “If you’re not truly happy for us, stay home!” I realize that etiquette would not allow us to do it. Do you have any suggestions for our situation? — OUR “BIG DAY”

DEAR “BIG DAY”: Many couples today have been married more than once. Your mother was correct when she told you this second wedding should be more low-key than the first. Rest assured that no one will attend your wedding who doesn’t want to be there because attendance is not compulsory.

I’m glad you recognize that the “disclaimer” would be inappropriate. If you prefer your guests forgo giving you a gift, convey that by having someone else deliver it VERBALLY — such as your mother or members of your wedding party — when guests call to ask where you are registered. The wording should be: “They only want you to share in their happiness on this special day. No gift is expected or required.”

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 $8 (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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