Dear Abby: When vacation starts, my husband turns mean and whiny

Avid traveler considers going without him next time.

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DEAR ABBY: I love to travel, yet I loathe traveling with my husband. He gets anxious and extremely mean on the days leading up to the trip and especially while en route. I do all the planning and pay for everything, and I regard it as not only ungrateful and rude, but unnecessary. Is it wrong for me to not want him to come on the next big trip I plan?

Also, while we travel, all he wants to do is sleep, eat and drink. I’m all about taking in the local culture and making sure to not miss anything. I also enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, but I don’t want to drink into oblivion, and I’m definitely not up for sleeping my vacation away. My husband does have a drinking problem as well (a topic for another letter).

Before I booked our last trip, I begged him to please not ruin it (our children were with us), and he promised to be on his best behavior. That lasted until the day before we left. Then it was like the mean switch flipped on. Before we even left for the airport, all he did was yell and complain about the airline, parking, packing, etc.

I’m at my wits’ end. The one time I did travel alone, he told the kids I didn’t like any of them and that’s why I went alone. He refuses counseling and seems to not understand why I don’t want to be around him. He also “spares no expense” on my dime when we are on vacation. He acts as if we are loaded. Help! — UNHAPPY TRAVELER

DEAR TRAVELER: Traveling is stressful, and some people don’t handle it well. Your alcoholic husband appears to be one of them. If you want to enjoy your travel experience, consider taking another vacation trip without him. Include the children, if they are old enough to appreciate the exposure they are being given, and always assure them that you love them without measure. If you leave your husband at home, you and your children may enjoy the experience more than if you drag him along.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, a friend went out of town to shop and asked if I’d like for them to pick me up a few small items while they were there. I said I would, and told them what I would like. When they returned, they sent me the calculation of what I owed: purchase price, tax — and gas!

This is someone I consider to be a fairly close friend, but charging me for gas for an errand they were already running seems not only rude, but also transactional to the point of cheapness. I might add that my items were nearly weightless and did not increase fuel requirements. (Had I asked for bricks, I’d be more understanding.)

Is my friend cheap for charging me for gas after offering to shop for me? Or am I cheap for balking? — NICKELED AND DIMED IN INDIANA

DEAR NICKELED AND DIMED: Your friend is cheap. They should not have asked for monetary compensation for a trip they were taking anyway. If you value the relationship, pay the $2 and, the next time you are asked if the person can pick up something for you, say “Thank you, but don’t bother.”

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 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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