Dear Abby, Mrs. is a second-class citizen in her own home

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married for five years. My husband and I are both past middle age and have been married before (me twice; three times for him). For much of our early marriage, my husband was ill. He required multiple surgeries and a lot of care. I’ve never complained or felt burdened, but the smallest pain I have is apparently a “pain” to him.

As time has passed, there are some things about our marriage that I honestly don’t understand. We celebrate Father’s Day and his birthday, but never Mother’s Day or my birthday. My husband is kind and charming to everyone, but often ignores me or gets very angry with me.

He’s called me things he promised never to say. He finds excuses for not wanting to do anything together. He spends more than 12 hours a day outside and seems to avoid me. He defends his friends when they say disrespectful things about me with the fact that he “don’t want to lose old friends”. He believes that whatever other people say – friends, family, etc. – is my problem and I should just accept it. We saw a marriage counselor and he didn’t help us. Please help me understand. — UNDERRATED IN NEBRASKA

LOVE UNDERRATED: According to your description, your husband is selfish, egocentric, lacks the ability to empathize or nurture, and would rather allow his friends to disrespect than confront the woman he has married. (What a prize!) I hope you found psychological satisfaction in taking care of him when he needed it so badly, as it seems that is all you will get from this relationship.

My question to you is: How long are you willing to be treated like this? Many women would rather be alone than live the life they are. You deserve better than what you got and I sincerely hope you will have the courage to stand up for it.

DEAR ABBY: My youngest son and his wife invited me to live with them in Colorado. I’m 68 years old, retired and struggling to survive financially (and physically) and maintain my home in Washington state. Selling it and moving into their spacious house with them made sense.

My son was fired from his job and is looking for a job. He received an offer from a company in Pennsylvania. I am about to receive a large amount of cash from the sale of my home, more money than I have ever had at one time. My son came to me last night and asked me to lend him everything for a down payment on a house in Pennsylvania. He says he will pay it back once his Colorado home is sold. He estimates it could take six months to pay it back.

My alarm bells are ringing and I honestly don’t know how to react. I think he has my best in mind, but I hesitate to give him every penny. I’m stupid? He never gave me reason to doubt him. — BIG CHANGES HAPPEN

LOVE CHANGES: Discuss this matter with a lawyer now! If you decide to use some of the money from the sale of your Washington home as a down payment on your son’s Pennsylvania home, you should have plenty left over for yourself. But any agreement you make should be put in writing in a legal document. It’s not stupid to want to protect yourself. In fact, it is very wise.

Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in The Anger We All Have and How to Deal With It. To order, mail your name and mailing address and a check or money order for $8 (US funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and packaging are included in the price.)

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