SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month
SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month

New husband’s moodiness may signal deeper trouble

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have a question about my daughter's new husband, "Brad." I haven't interfered with their marriage and don't want to, but he seems very moody and barely speaks to me. Just when I think I've found a common topic, on the next visit four or five weeks later, he doesn't say a word.

During my last visit, he got very upset with my daughter because a piece of chicken fell out of his wrap while she was tasting it. She apologized twice, but her eyes were watering when I walked into the room. I wanted so badly to just hug her and ask Brad "What's wrong with you?" I have heard his tone before. Should I do anything? -- QUESTIONING IN THE SOUTH

DEAR QUESTIONING: If Brad has behaved this way before when you were visiting, is it possible that your visit was inconvenient for him? Could they be having marital problems?

I don't think it would qualify as interference to ask your daughter how often her husband gets upset over things as trivial as a piece of chicken spilling out of his wrap. Exploding over something so insignificant could be an indication that there is a larger problem that hasn't been dealt with. It also would not be interfering to let your daughter know that if this happens often, it isn't normal, and that you are -- and always will be -- there for her if she feels she needs it.

DEAR ABBY: A friend died in a state that has restrictions on gathering for funerals because of the pandemic. Only those in the household, the mortuary staff and a pastor or other religious officiant can be present at the funeral.

This was a good friend, Abby, someone I had known for 35 years. He and his wife, also a longtime friend, were in my wedding party. The sudden loss of this friend saddens me, and it grieves me that I cannot offer condolences in person or attend the funeral or support his widow in person. Other readers may also be facing this quandary. Do you have any suggestions? -- GRIEVING ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR GRIEVING: Ask your friend's widow if the funeral home can stream the funeral service to friends and extended family who are unable to attend in person. Call her, extend your condolences, and ask if she needs your help or if she is planning to have a memorial you can attend once the quarantine is lifted.

While you're at it, ask if she would like a contribution in her late husband's name made to a particular organization. Do not send flowers without first asking because she may be inundated. And, of course, continue calling to check on her, lift her spirits and allow her to vent if she needs to, which may help her to feel less isolated and vulnerable.

DEAR ABBY: A friend died in a state that has restrictions on gathering for funerals because of the pandemic. Only those in the household, the mortuary staff and a pastor or other religious officiant can be present at the funeral.

This was a good friend, Abby, someone I had known for 35 years. He and his wife, also a longtime friend, were in my wedding party. The sudden loss of this friend saddens me, and it grieves me that I cannot offer condolences in person or attend the funeral or support his widow in person. Other readers may also be facing this quandary. Do you have any suggestions? -- GRIEVING ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR GRIEVING: Ask your friend's widow if the funeral home can stream the funeral service to friends and extended family who are unable to attend in person. Call her, extend your condolences, and ask if she needs your help or if she is planning to have a memorial you can attend once the quarantine is lifted.

While you're at it, ask if she would like a contribution in her late husband's name made to a particular organization. Do not send flowers without first asking because she may be inundated. And, of course, continue calling to check on her, lift her spirits and allow her to vent if she needs to, which may help her to feel less isolated and vulnerable.

DEAR ABBY: I have a question about privacy. No matter when I am in the restroom, my husband feels the need to come in and hang out. Every single day. I have mentioned over and over that I would prefer some privacy, but he won't listen. I mean, come on, is nothing sacred? What gives? -- EXPOSED IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR EXPOSED: You have my sympathy. Your husband either doesn't respect your need for privacy or has an insatiable desire for a captive audience. The solution to your problem may be as simple as a sturdy lock on your bathroom door.

DEAR ABBY: I recently started dating again after ending a very difficult marriage. To say I am guarding my heart for fear of getting hurt would be an understatement.

I have met someone that I can see having a future with, but some things concern me. He has been hospitalized for mental health reasons in the past. He's constantly saying, "I'm sorry I'm so screwed up" or remarking about being "crazy." He mentions his depression almost daily, and he hates being, as he puts it, "messed up in the head." He just can't seem to move past his issues.

I feel like he doesn't want to move forward and start living his life again. I have lived with depression for most of my life, but it doesn't define who I am. If I don't respond to his calls or messages right away, he gets hurt and assumes I'm mad at him.

My question is, am I being overly cautious based on not wanting to get hurt again, or should I take a step back? I would like to see a future with him, but I'm not sure he is ready to see any kind of a future with anyone. -- GUARDED HEART

DEAR GUARDED HEART: You are not being overly cautious. You are asking yourself intelligent, insightful questions about someone who appears not as far along on the path to mental wellness as you are. Is this man still being treated for his issues? If not, he should be encouraged to talk with a licensed mental health professional not only about his depression, but also his glaring lack of self-esteem.

From your description, I would have to say he needs a friend now more than a romance, so take plenty of time if you proceed in this relationship. If he makes progress, see where things lead. If not, then in light of your own history, it might be better for you to find someone who is stronger.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a six-year relationship. About two years into it, I found out that "Wayne" was separated, but not divorced, from his wife of 20 years. The fact that they are separated is not the issue. They live together and do things as a married couple. The wife and I have met each other several times, and I have gone to his children's graduation parties and family weddings.

He has told me every year that this is the year he will file for divorce, but it still hasn't happened. I don't know why he is holding on because I do not believe they are intimate. Their children are adults, so there is nothing keeping them together. He tells me he can't live without me, but his actions have proven otherwise. Do you think they are in an open marriage? Is there any hope for our future together? -- WASTING TIME IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR WASTING TIME: Not at the rate you are going. I suspect the reason Wayne hasn't followed through and filed for divorce may be financial. He and his wife may also like things just the way they are because they can maintain their social life, he's comfortable at home and he has you to sleep with, which may be a relief to her. You have my sympathy, but I think you have invested enough time. What's going on is unfair to you. This romance was based on dishonesty on his part, and you deserve more than you have been getting.