DEAR ABBY: My husband retired a few months ago. I was a stay-at-home mom for most of our married life but have worked part time for several years. I always took care of all the household chores because he supported us financially.
Now he’s retired, and nothing has changed. I’m still doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of the business matters and working part time. Although I have always done whatever it takes to keep the peace, I am becoming increasingly resentful. I don’t know how to break this pattern. I’ve never had the nerve to speak up and express my anger or frustration for fear of getting into a huge fight. Can you give me any advice to help me get out of this trap I’ve built for myself? — STUCK IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR STUCK: Your husband isn’t a mind reader. Ending your silence is the way out of the “trap.” It is what has given him license. If necessary, HAVE that “huge fight.” It may be the answer to a more equitable sharing of responsibilities. But if it isn’t, then it’s time for counseling — to not only help you better communicate, but also, if necessary, mediate.
DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced less than a year, and while I wasn’t expecting to rush into a relationship, I have met someone I really like, and he treats me so well. The problem is I haven’t yet told my children, and while speaking with my 13-year-old son, he told me he would run away if I was ever with anyone except his dad. He also said he didn’t care if I was happy or not. I don’t want to hurt — or worse, lose — my son. He refuses to talk to a counselor. How do I move on and get my son to accept this situation? — MOVING FORWARD IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR MOVING FORWARD: Do you really intend to allow a 13-year-old to dictate how you live the rest of your life? Because he refuses to talk with a counselor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it for help in strengthening your backbone. Your son’s feelings may change once his father starts having romantic relationships — if he hasn’t already. Nowhere in your letter did you mention that the person you are seeing has asked for a permanent commitment, so you have lots of time. Live your life. Continue to explore where things are going. When your son is older and his hormones kick in, he may mellow.
DEAR ABBY: What does an invited guest do when their hosts get into one or more verbal screaming fights in front of them? Leave the room? Exit completely? I was raised that folks use “company manners” when guests were present. — BAFFLED IN INDIANA
DEAR BAFFLED: If the hosts’ behavior makes you uncomfortable, the prudent thing would be to exit the gathering entirely. No rule of etiquette decrees that you must stick around and be the unwilling audience for their drama.
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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