DEAR ABBY: My husband is a thoughtful, kind person and an excellent partner. Raised in the South, we were both taught to call people “ma’am” and “sir.” Instead of reserving these terms only for older or more distinguished people, he uses them with everyone, including when speaking to our peers (we are in our early 40s). I have noticed that it’s off-putting to some of my female friends when he refers to them as “Ms. (first name)” or “ma’am.” They feel he’s calling them old compared to himself, which I know is not his intention.
I’ve mentioned this to him a few times, but it’s a habit he is finding hard to break. I don’t want to hurt his feelings by constantly harping on something that seems insignificant, but I also want him to stop being quite so polite. Have you any advice for getting around this? — MANNERED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR MANNERED: Yes, I do. I’m advising you to stand by your man and straighten out your overly sensitive female friends. Assure them that this is the way both of you were raised, and the nicety is regional. It would be better than nagging your husband about it because he is doing nothing wrong by using those formalities.
DEAR ABBY: My husband of 35 years moved out three years ago. We live only a block apart, and I contribute a lot to his household because he’s on disability and doesn’t have enough money to make it through the month. I have a great job and travel as a photographer. My job is the reason he moved out. According to him, I was “gone too much.”
Recently, we have discussed the possibility of divorcing. Although he hasn’t done it yet, he has expressed interest in dating a man. But then he pulls me back in with the “I love you, and can’t live without you” stuff. I don’t know what to do. He is hostile when I’m away at work and constantly accuses me of cheating. I am at a loss. — IN A FIX IN ALABAMA
DEAR IN A FIX: If your estranged husband is expressing interest in dating another man, the chances are pretty good that he has already given it a try. Another tip-off is the fact that he is “constantly” accusing you of cheating. There’s an old French saying that translates to something like this: “A man doesn’t look behind the door unless he has stood there himself.” Talk to an attorney and find out what the legal grounds for divorce are in the great state of Alabama. Adultery and desertion may be two of them, which means you might qualify.
DEAR ABBY: “Adam” and “Amanda” are dating. It is OK for Amanda to braid the long hair of her single, heterosexual male friend, “Adonis”? Or is she crossing a line in her relationship? — JUST WONDERING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR JUST WONDERING: If Adam doesn’t like Amanda braiding Adonis’ locks, he has a mouth and can use it to tell her to cut it out. Unless you are Adam, Adonis or Amanda, stay out of it and resist the urge to weigh in.
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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