DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 30 years. He has always been self-centered. We have discussed this over the years, and it hasn’t changed his disposition. I bought him an “It’s All About Me” coffee cup years ago as a joke, and he enjoys using it!
We both have office jobs and day-to-day issues and problems with our employees and co-workers. If we talk on the phone at lunch or over dinner, he describes his daily issues in excruciating detail, looking for my feedback/input and then moves on. There is never a time I can update him on my issues and get his input to help with mine because he’s too busy thinking about his issues.
He cares deeply about our adult children, but doesn’t give them input on their issues either. If I don’t remind him about the challenges (i.e., buying a new car, looking for a new job, etc.) they want our advice on, he would never reach out to them to assist. I am not sure if this is a personality trait I must live with or if you have some ideas to improve this situation. — ALL ABOUT HIM
DEAR ALL ABOUT HIM: Has it occurred to you that in some areas your husband may be less self-centered than an empty vessel? He may not help you with your daily issues because he doesn’t have the answers.
Assuming you have talked to him about this until you are blue in the face, the next time he asks for your input, you might consider being less helpful. Or, beat him to the punch and tell him about your problems before he has a chance to tell you the ones he is having.
As to your adult children, they should go directly to their father when they seek his advice and continue to approach him until they get it.
DEAR ABBY: I have a dear friend I’ve known for 25 years and I consider to be family. We recently had a falling-out because I set some boundaries I feel are necessary for my own wellness as I grow into my 40s. The boundaries revolve around disrespectful or belittling speech.
My friend is gay and excuses the disrespect as the way his community speaks among themselves. He often calls me the b-word in fun, as well as similar names. I have told him it hurts me, but he refuses to acknowledge it, dismissing it as “you know, since high school that’s how we talk.” He might show some restraint at times, but when he’s drinking (which is often), he reverts back to making cruel or hurtful comments.
I am now a single mother, looking to grow and evolve into a better person, rebuild my self-esteem and possibly find a partner in life, but my friend keeps pulling me back into a dark place every time we speak. I care too much about him to walk away from this friendship. What can I do? — BOUNDARIES SET IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BOUNDARIES: You have already taken the first step. You told your friend (frenemy?) you will no longer tolerate being called a b**** or any other offensive name. For some in the gay community this may be considered “fun,” but it ISN’T funny to you. That he would continue doing this after you expressed that it hurt your feelings makes me wonder if he values your relationship as much as you do.
Maintain your boundaries by leaving his presence if he uses that language. Oh, and one more thing: When you know he’s been drinking, avoid him because, if you don’t, you know what will follow.
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.
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