Dear Abby: For 15 years, husband has ignored my ‘no shoes in the house’ policy

He prefers to leave them on and track dirt inside, even though there are small children playing on the floors.

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DEAR ABBY: I’ve been with my wonderful husband for 15 years. I currently work from home with our small children, ages 4 and 1. I have a “no shoes in the house” policy (always have), but my husband prefers to wear shoes in the house. We have bought numerous pairs of sneakers to be used as inside shoes, but he often wears them outside to mow the grass or run to the gas station.

I do my best to ignore when he leaves dusty boot prints on the floors, but every now and then I call him out on it. When I do, my request is met with rage. He later calms down and apologizes with the excuse, “I just don’t like being told not to wear my shoes in the house.”

It’s a 15-year-old problem that’s not going away and I just don’t know who is right. My husband feels his shoes are clean. I struggle to keep my home clean because my little ones are running around. His disregard seems so disrespectful. He’s overall not a disrespectful person. I’d love an unbiased expert opinion on what’s what. — BAREFOOT IN MONTANA

DEAR BAREFOOT: Your “wonderful” husband may not be a disrespectful person overall, but in this case, he is being self-centered. With a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old crawling around and playing on the floor, he should be more considerate because there is no telling what he’s tracking in from that run to the gas station.

I assume that the dusty footprints are something you are in charge of cleaning up. Perhaps that’s a chore he should assume if changing his shoes is too big an inconvenience for him. He may be a prince in other areas of your marriage, but in this one he is acting like a rebellious teenager.

P.S. I wonder if keeping a supply of disposable shoe covers by the door for him to slip on might mitigate the problem. Who knows?

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been close friends with “Sal” and his wife for many years. Over the last few years, he has transformed into an intolerable, arrogant, self-centered braggart who’s never been wrong or made a mistake. All his conversations start with “I,” and if he’s not talking about himself, he’s not talking at all. He rarely asks how we are doing, but if he does, it just leads into more about himself.

During Sal’s last visit he went on and on about how rich he is and how much he recently made in the market. Because of our long friendship, I’ve considered confronting him, but I see no point because I think he’s an irredeemably arrogant bore. Your thoughts, please? — FED-UP FRIEND IN THE SOUTH

DEAR FED-UP FRIEND: Some people behave the way Sal does, believe it or not, out of insecurity. That said, not all friendships last forever. If you feel this one has run its course, then call it a day. Your wife and his can socialize separately. If he asks you why you are no longer available to socialize, you have my permission to give him the reason — without the name-calling.

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.

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