Dear Abby: My 55-year-old husband and I have been married more than 25 years. Our marriage has been challenging, but we now have three adult sons to help succeed in the world, one of whom has a chronic severe health condition.
My biggest problem is my husband won’t stop pointing out how much he notices I’m aging. He says I’m going downhill. I don’t ask for his opinion or open the discussion. If I’m not “in the mood” after he has been staring at his phone for hours, probably looking at nude women as I’ve seen him do many times, he calls me a shriveled-up prune.
He also constantly comments about younger women on TV, in the movies or even on the local news, and says things like, “Where’s that juicy young blonde who was on the news before?” Or he tells me how much I resemble an old woman on TV who looks like she’s 20 years older than I am. He also never fails to point out young women who still have their “baby fat,” which I don’t.
He says he loves me and hugs and kisses me every day, but then he acts so creepy I don’t want him touching me. He is really starting to disgust and confuse me. He knows how I feel about this. Now he’s telling me I’M crazy because of how I feel about his behavior. I don’t know why he’s acting like this. It seems like he’s looking for an excuse to stray. I have been told before that he has incurable narcissism.
— Fading in Washington
Dear Fading: Couples are supposed to love each other for who they are, not their appearance. Your husband is emotionally abusive. His hostility is blatant. That he would expect you to have sex with him after hours on his cellphone — and no foreplay — is incredibly naive.
Could he be deliberately trying to sabotage your marriage? A marriage and family therapist might be able to get to the bottom of this, but if counseling doesn’t help, you may have to let your adult sons fend for themselves and start taking care of yourself.
Dear Abby: I have this friend I have known since I was 9. She’s a very good friend, but she doesn’t get along with my boyfriend. They fight, and when they do, I’m stuck in the middle. I have spoken to both of them many times and asked them to coexist for my sake. They both try hard, but we all feel like we are walking on eggshells — especially me. How do I handle being with them for holiday celebrations and special occasions at my apartment?
— Uneasy in Massachusetts
Dear Uneasy: I wish you had mentioned which one is causing these “fights.” Mature individuals opt to “agree to disagree” and change the subject, rather than allow an argument to degenerate into open conflict. Explain this to both of them, and the next time you are caught in the middle, ask the person who picked the fight to do that — or leave. And, if things don’t get better, celebrate with them separately as often as possible.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY ASIAN READERS WHO CELEBRATE THE LUNAR NEW YEAR: The Year of the Tiger begins today. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are brave, competitive, unpredictable and confident. Famous Tiger Year people are Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga and Queen Elizabeth II. I am wishing a happy, healthy new year to all who are celebrating this holiday.
— Love, Abby
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 DearAbby.com.