DEAR ABBY: I have been with “Jack” for three years. When we started out, I fell head over heels in love with him. Then he lost his job, and his personality changed. He was at home with the kids and I worked, but he became really resentful and cranky about my working. He stays in a bad mood and loses his temper over the least little thing. He always apologizes, but the pattern never changes.

It has been almost three years since he worked a steady job. If he found one he didn’t like, he would call in sick or go in late. If our children get sick, he accuses me of putting my job first. Abby, I get him everything he wants.

When he mentions something that he likes, I make sure he gets it. I have always put my children and him before myself.

He says he’s always in a bad mood because he’s always in the house. I’m tired of being yelled at every day. I’m also tired of his verbally abusing the children. They are more surprised not to get yelled at than when they do. We have been married a year and a half. He curses at me at the drop of a hat. He’s never physical – just verbal.

I have never told this to anyone other than you. If I say anything to him, he gets angry and asks if I want him to leave. Can you help me? – HURT IN MICHIGAN

DEAR HURT: Your husband may be clinically depressed, or he may simply be a lazy, verbal abuser. The quickest way to find out what’s ailing him would be to get him to see a doctor for a physical examination and a frank talk. If his problem is depression, he can be helped back to a more productive and happier life through medication and therapy.

However, if it turns out that your husband is just a freeloader who exerts control by constantly putting down the people around him, you will have to ask yourself some hard questions. First on your list should be, “Are my children and I better off with him or without him?”

DEAR ABBY: I have cold hands. Because of a medical condition, my hands are either icy from cranked-up air conditioning in the summer or from freezing temperatures in the winter. I hate shaking hands with people because it’s like asking them to hold a block of ice.

Should I say something as I’m shaking hands, or should I avoid bringing attention to it and comment only if the other person says something? If it’s the latter, would, “I have a medical condition” suffice? Thanks for your help. – ICE PRINCESS IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR ICE PRINCESS: If someone mentions your cold hands, explaining that you have a medical condition is an honest and acceptable response. Alternatively, you could smile and say, “Yes … it means I have a warm heart.”

P.S.: In the summer, I would think that shaking hands with someone whose hands are cold would be refreshing!

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been together for 19 years. From Day One, her paycheck has been spent on the streets. She is never home. Her idea of a good time is to party at nightclubs with her girlfriends. We have two kids, 12 and 15, and sometimes I feel like she doesn’t love any of us.

I have caught her cheating three times. For 19 years, I have sat back and taken it. Well, I’m sick of it. Please tell me what to do. – TIRED OF BEING ALONE, NEWBERRY, S.C.

DEAR TIRED: Draw the line. If your wife isn’t willing to behave like one, end the marriage. However, when you do, make sure that you have custody of the children. You have all suffered enough.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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