Woman fumes when man won’t take time to phone

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with the same man for 15 years. For the last six, we have been living together. He's a machinist who owns his own business and works strict hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Sometimes he locks his doors at 5 and works an hour or two later, but he doesn't call to let me know he is working late. I have told him calling is common courtesy. Sometimes he does it, but more often he does not. He thinks it's "ridiculous" that I would wonder where he is, and if I want to know, I can call his shop.

Last Saturday morning he was up at 6 a.m. and told me he needed to drive 100 miles north of here to look at a "project" for a customer to see if he can fix it. When I asked what the project was, he said he didn't know. This guy is someone he has recently started a friendship with. It seemed odd that he wouldn't let me go along for the ride. He said he'd have his phone on him, and I could call anytime to see where he was.

When I didn't hear from him all day, I started calling around 7 p.m. and three times after that, but he didn't pick up. He pulled back into our driveway around 10 p.m. and told me he was helping the guy move cows, and he would have called me on the way home but his phone died.

I'm upset. He had dinner with them, and they have a landline he could have used. I told him how hurt I was and that I feel disrespected. He says he deserved a day to himself. He thinks I'm being ridiculous. Am I? Do I not deserve a phone call? -- WAITING AND WAITING IN MONTANA

DEAR WAITING: You are not ridiculous. It was thoughtless of him not to call, but you said it doesn't happen all the time. You are his lady friend, not his keeper. If he needs a day to himself, it might benefit your relationship to cut him some slack. And when it happens again, schedule something fun for yourself so you aren't sitting by the phone.

DEAR ABBY: Our family and extended family are all highly educated individuals with advanced degrees. My son's wife didn't go to college, and while she is genuinely nice, she butchers the English language.

My granddaughter will be learning to talk soon, and I wonder what's the best way to approach the situation. I don't want to offend my daughter-in-law, but I also don't want my granddaughter learning improper grammar. What are your suggestions on how to handle this problem? -- UNSURE ON THE WEST COAST

DEAR UNSURE: Because your family and extended family are well-educated and hold advanced degrees, the more time your grandchild spends with all of you, the better her chances of learning proper grammar. Do not talk "baby talk" with her. Read to her and give her books as gifts. If her mother reads them to her daughter, they both may have a better chance of learning good grammar. Being around her well-educated father will also help, and once she's in school, it will be reinforced.

The only thing you should not do is say anything that will make your son's wife self-conscious about her upbringing because if you do, you may be seeing a lot less of that little family.

DEAR ABBY: "Darlene" and I have been friends for 40 years. She moved to Arizona with me in the '80s from Michigan. Her boyfriend drove out and convinced her to return to Michigan and get married, which she did, but she's always hated Michigan. She raised two girls. I was always called "Aunt" and was considered close.

Years passed and the marriage was struggling. I invited Darlene to come and visit to get away for a bit. She fell right back in love with Arizona. She expressed her unhappiness in the marriage, and I told her that if she ever needed a place to stay, she could live with me. She came out for another visit, found a job and decided to stay.

Her girls, now in their early 20s, were shocked and hurt by their mom's decision to divorce their father. One of them blames me, blocked me on Facebook and no longer talks to me. It has been three years, and when Darlene's daughter comes to visit, I have to stay away. Darlene refuses to talk to the daughter to smooth things out between us. I think she should do something to defend me. Am I wrong? -- WRONGLY BLAMED IN THE WEST

DEAR WRONGLY BLAMED: No, you are not wrong. You did Darlene a favor by welcoming her to Arizona, but you were not responsible for her divorce. It appears no good deed goes unpunished. She should not be letting you take the heat for the fact she left her husband.

Darlene should have explained to her daughter the marriage was an unhappy one for a long time, and regardless of where she chose to live afterward, it wouldn't have been near their father. Darlene and her daughter owe you an apology. Because you are required to stay away when Daughter visits, perhaps it would be better if Darlene found another place to live rather than your home.

DEAR ABBY: During my sister's pregnancy, she made very clear that the only people she wanted to transport her child would be her, her husband and our mother. I disagreed, but because of her pregnancy, I kept silent and abided by her wish that I not purchase my own car seat in the event of an emergency. (I don't have any children of my own.)

Now that the child is in day care, I found out through a third party that my sister has listed me as an emergency contact. The first question that came to mind was "Why?" but all I could do was acknowledge the information. Would it be out of line for me to ask her about this, and if she confirms it, to remove my info from her emergency contact? Or should I just hope that I never get called? I don't want to be unprepared, but I know that emergencies do happen. -- TAKEN ABACK IN THE EAST

DEAR TAKEN ABACK: Emergencies DO happen. Lives can be changed in only a moment. Before listing you as an emergency contact, your sister should have asked for permission and discussed it with you. It would not be out of line to tell her you have just been informed about it and ask why she did it without telling you.

While you're at it, ask if the child has any medical conditions you're not aware of and exactly what she wants done in an emergency situation. If you decide to follow through with this, you should know the name of her doctor, what -- if any -- medications the child is taking, and what hospital the ambulance should deliver the kid to if it becomes necessary, since you don't have a child seat in your vehicle and don't want to risk being cited should you be stopped on the way.

DEAR ABBY: I am 43, and my boyfriend is 40. He is always at my house, but I can never go to his to sit around and relax. When I get upset about it and want to talk to him about it, he tells me that's not the case at all. I'm welcome anytime. But when I suggest it, I am always turned down. I'm trying hard to be optimistic, but I have so many negative thoughts about this. What should I do? -- KEPT OUT IN ALABAMA

DEAR KEPT OUT: It appears your boyfriend is more comfortable at your place than hosting you at his. Why that would be is anybody's guess. Maybe he is lazy and doesn't want to straighten up for a guest. Maybe he's unwilling to provide food or a beverage you prefer. Are you sure he lives alone and there isn't another hen sitting in his nest?

You haven't said how long you have been together as a couple, but it does seem like he is taking advantage. It also seems he is pretty slick about denying reality when it comes to hospitality. Unless he can explain to you why you can't come over, your negative thoughts about this may be warranted.