Dear Abby: Man upset that wife ignores him while doting on her children

She cuts off conversations with him when one of the kids comes along, and even totally overlooks his birthday.

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DEAR ABBY: I have been with my wife for 25 years, married for 22 of them. I love her very much, but sometimes I feel it isn’t mutual. We have three children, all girls, ranging in age from early teens to mid-20s. My wife also has an older son from a previous marriage.

My complaint for years has been that I am the least important person in the world to her. The kids, work and friends always come first. I understand that kids have needs, but I should get some attention once in a while. We will be in the middle of a conversation, and if one of them walks into the room, texts or calls, she stops midsentence and totally ignores me. Sometimes I talk to her, and she doesn’t even hear me if they are in the room. She and the kids laugh and joke about it, but I don’t think it’s funny.

I have worked hard to support them, 60-hour weeks and weekends to make ends meet, and I feel like I’m an afterthought to all of them. I spoil them on birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas. One year not one of them remembered my birthday. Am I overreacting? — INVISIBLE MAN IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR INVISIBLE: What has been going on under your roof is no laughing matter. But your passivity may be partly responsible for it. You should have told your wife years ago how you felt, but it isn’t too late to do it now. Tell her you feel ignored and unappreciated by her and the children. Tell her you are unhappy, and if she wants the marriage to last, she will join you in marital counseling because you are tired of being low man on the totem pole. I don’t think doing that would be overreacting. In fact, I think it’s overdue.

DEAR ABBY: Our daughter and her cousin are the same age. Both are medical school graduates. Eight months ago, when this cousin got married at an in-person wedding, he was showered with gifts from the family. My daughter, in contrast, had a private ceremony because of COVID concerns and sent a wedding announcement to the family. To the shock and amazement of my husband, my daughter and myself, not a single person in the family thought to send her a gift or even a card.

There’s no bad blood in the family. Everyone appears to love her. She is disappointed and devastated. Should I just get over this, or should I say something to the family? She and her husband live 2,000 miles away, and at this point, I can’t envision them making the effort to fly home and see the family ever again. — BAFFLED IN TEXAS

DEAR BAFFLED: I don’t think anyone intended to give your daughter short shrift. The rules of etiquette state that wedding gifts are required if someone is attending a wedding. While it would have been nice of these relatives to have sent a gift or at least a card, they were not required to. I see no reason why you shouldn’t inform these relatives that your daughter was deeply hurt that no one was inclined to send her and her husband so much as a congratulatory card.

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.)

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