DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband 25 years as of today. (We’ve been a couple for 32 years.) He has done absolutely nothing to commemorate this. I reminded him months ago to save for something because it was very important to me. My friends would have happily helped him do something.
Every year it’s the same old nothing. He asked me to remind him and I did, but it made no difference. Same with my birthday. Yes, we have been in better positions financially than now. But if something was important to him, he always saved for it. I have money put away we could have used, and he knew this. Yet nothing.
The only time he shows me any kind of emotion or love/sex is when he’s drunk. But he swears he loves me. I don’t suspect cheating. He doesn’t care what he looks like when we go places. I always try to look my best.
I’m at the end of my rope. This 25th anniversary really hurt me. He said we’ll do something when he can. I can’t take it anymore. I feel worthy of nothing, like I don’t matter. What do I do? — ANNIVERSARY SADNESS
DEAR ANNIVERSARY SADNESS: If the only time your husband shows you any kind of affectionate attention is when he is drunk, you have bigger problems than the fact that he “forgets” special occasions. Is this the way you want to spend the next 25 years of your life?
Receiving gifts does not make a person “worthy.” You need to work on your level of self-esteem. As expensive as a celebration might have been, a gift you could both benefit from would be couples counseling.
DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful mother-in-law who recently turned 92. For the past five or so years, she has struggled with urinary incontinence and uses adult diapers. However, her urine really stinks. I don’t think she changes her diaper often enough, and the smell is really strong throughout the day. I’m also afraid that by not changing often enough, she may get an infection.
Her children refuse to discuss the issue with her, so nothing is being done to change the situation. I find myself distancing from her since I can’t stand the smell. I have researched the topic, and I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to address the incontinence issue due to her age and other medical issues. However, I think if she drank more fluids so her urine wouldn’t be so concentrated, the smell wouldn’t be so bad. I have talked to her about drinking more water for other reasons, but she doesn’t want to because then she would need to urinate more.
I really love my MIL, but I can’t stand to be near her. I feel like I’m only the daughter-in-law and that any discussions should come from her children, but they don’t want to bring it up with her. What can be done? — KEEPING MY DISTANCE
DEAR KEEPING: Has your mother-in-law seen a urologist and been told nothing can be done about her incontinence problem, or is she so embarrassed she hasn’t seen one? Because her children refuse to discuss this with their mother, the ball is in your court. Please talk to her and urge her to see a doctor. Because when people age their sense of smell can diminish, she may not be aware that she has the problem you’re describing.
She does need to drink more water and change her diaper more often than she’s doing. Her mental and physical health could depend upon it. But she also needs to see a urologist.
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.
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