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Dear Abby: Irritable husband goes out for hours, won’t say where

As wife is treated for cancer, man keeps secrets and gets angry with her for the least little thing.

DEAR ABBY: I’m undergoing chemo/immunotherapy for cancer every three weeks. For quite some time now, my husband has been going out most days from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. He does not say where he is going, and when he comes home, he says hardly a word. He is angry with me for the least little thing, and being around him gets very unpleasant because he shouts and throws things around.

I need to know what’s going on, why, and if it is innocent — because he won’t say where he’s going and for what purpose. Am I justified in being upset and distressed about this? I am at a point in my life where I need support. I think we both should be more concerned with making our future enjoyable and peaceful.

How should I approach him about this without incurring more anger and putting myself in a worse situation than I am already in? I don’t want to accuse him of anything, but I want to know the truth however hard it may be. — SUSPICIOUS IN NEW YORK

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: Has this been going on since your diagnosis, or do your husband’s absences predate it? Because he becomes angry and defensive when you ask what is going on, stop trying to confront him. Your husband may be angry with you for getting cancer, be incapable of giving emotional support or be stressed to the max and need private time to decompress. Or he may be cheating.

If you can afford it, hire a private detective to provide the information you need. I am so sorry for your pain. At a time like this, the last thing you needed was additional worry.

DEAR ABBY: Our daughter has been married for three years to a wonderful guy she dated for 10 years and loves dearly. Because she doesn’t like his last name, she chose to maintain her maiden name. He understood this soon after they started dating.

She’s now three months pregnant and facing a dilemma about what to name their child. She’s adamant that a hyphenated name is unacceptable. They have tentatively discussed a complete name change for themselves and the child. Her husband was adopted, and she feels there’s no reason his surname must be carried on. He’s OK with keeping his last name but would consider a new one if she suggests something he likes.

The problem is, she hasn’t been able to come up with one he likes. We’re concerned this issue will drag on without being settled until our grandchild arrives. We recently offered limited advice hoping they can work this out between themselves.

I believe her husband is entitled to keep his name, and she as well, but I’m against the child carrying only her name. Any suggestions you could provide to help resolve this would be appreciated before our grandchild is born nameless. — FAMILY DILEMMA IN TEXAS

DEAR FAMILY: My suggestion is that as helpful as you might wish to be, this is something your daughter and son-in-law must work out by themselves. “What’s in a name” is plenty, and because this dilemma is emotionally loaded, you should stay out of it.

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.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)