Dear Abby: I’m going stir crazy as my retired husband watches news 24/7

He said he was going to spend his golden years enjoying TV and that’s what he’s doing, despite living in a beautiful coastal area with much to explore.

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for 34 years. Seven years ago, we retired to a little town on the Oregon coast. I love the ocean and the area we are living in. There is so much to explore.

I’m writing because, since the pandemic, my husband has changed. He is addicted to the news 24/7. If I say anything to him about it, he gets defensive and says, “I told you when I retire I’m going to sit in my recliner and watch TV,” but I didn’t take him literally.

I’m going crazy. I leave, take my camera and go, but I can’t do that 24/7. We have dogs to take care of. I had no idea retirement was going to be so hard. I volunteered at the dog kennel but had to quit because I hurt my shoulder. Please help me to cope or suggest how I can approach him without getting my head bitten off. — FRUSTRATED IN OREGON

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your husband may be hooked on the adrenaline rush he gets from watching the news or be using it as an escape. Whatever his reason, for the sake of your sanity, you must find more activities and friendships to fill the empty space he once occupied in your life.

You live in a beautiful area, and you are already immersed in photography. It may be time to exercise your mind and expand your interests. Please consider exploring your options.

DEAR ABBY: We adopted our daughter, “Opal,” at the age of 2. She is 6 now. Opal lived with us off and on as a newborn, but by age 1, she lived permanently with us. We live in a small community, so everyone knows everyone. Opal lived with her biological mom prior to adoption.

We tried to allow interaction between them with certain rules in place. Opal recently spent two hours with her biological mother at a party for a sibling. Opal asked to come back home, so she was dropped off. I later found out her bio mom told her she gave birth to her so SHE is her REAL mother.

We never hid the adoption from Opal. We speak about it in a way that isn’t negative or hurtful. Since this happened, Opal has reverted to being clingy and wakes up with that conversation on her mind. How do I address this with her bio mom and with our daughter? — REALLY MOM IN KENTUCKY

DEAR REALLY MOM: First address this with your daughter. Explain that when her bio mom gave birth to her, she was unable to keep her, so she gave her to you to raise. Tell Opal you love her, she fills your heart with joy every day and you, unlike her bio mom, will be there for her every day of your life.

Then, tell the woman who gave up your daughter that you had planned to tell Opal about the adoption when she was a little older, that she bungled the situation and that, for the foreseeable future, you want her to stay away and not further traumatize Opal.

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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