Dear Abby: Disabled man has trouble connecting with his busy wife

He’s married to a teacher who neglects him while preparing for class and exploring social media.

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DEAR ABBY: I am medically retired and have mobility issues, so I’m unable to be active or socialize. I don’t have many friends outside my family, so I spend many hours alone at home. My wife is an elementary school teacher. My two youngest children are in high school.

My wife is an excellent teacher, and I appreciate everything she does for our family and her students. When she returns home in the evening, she has to grade papers, create lesson plans and dozens of other things that need preparation. I understand this, but when she’s finished, she spends the rest of the evenings or weekends on social media.

Trying to have a conversation with her is almost impossible because she’s not listening or interacting with me. I get short “yes” or “no” answers or constant “uh-huh” replies. I’ve tried talking with her about the fact I feel marginalized, but she just gets angry.

It’s not easy being married to a physically handicapped person, I know. Am I being overly sensitive? How do I express to her the loneliness I feel and the longing for a connection with my wife? — LONELY HUSBAND IN UTAH

DEAR LONELY HUSBAND: It may not be easy. You may need help getting through to her. Tell your wife that you would like to have some marriage counseling because you feel all alone in this marriage. However, if she refuses, consider some counseling for yourself. Developing other social outlets online, as she appears to be doing, also could be beneficial.

Many communities provide transportation for disabled individuals so they can get out of their homes. Depending upon your physical impairment, you may be interested in exploring what’s available in your area.

DEAR ABBY: I’m back at work after being a stay-at-home mom for the last decade. My job is in public schooling, and I earn less than $25,000 a year. My husband works for a Fortune 500 company and earns more than $120,000 per year. I understand that we have debt, and I’m willing to contribute, but he keeps my paycheck — all of it.

To be honest, even as hard as he works and as much as he takes care of and provides for our family, I am not happy. It’s not that I plan to leave, but without my own money, I don’t even have an option to plan for the future. How can I convince him to allow me the money I earn, while assuring him that I’ll help to pay down our debt? — WORKING FOR NOTHING IN OHIO

DEAR WORKING: Your husband appears to be deeply insecure and controlling. You are a wife, not an indentured servant. You shouldn’t have to ask, beg or be required to convince him that you should have money YOU ARE EARNING. Tell him that, and also explain how much of your money you want to put aside in an account of your own. If he refuses, suggest the two of you get mediation from a licensed family therapist. If he refuses to go with you, go alone. You may also want to consult an attorney who specializes in family law about what your rights as a wife are in the state of Ohio. Please don’t put it off.

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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