DEAR ABBY: My brother has been married for 11 years to a woman who is very controlling. She’s 32, he’s 38, and they have two kids.

She has all the traits of a bully. She decided if, when and how they got married, whether to have kids, when and how many. She also decides what he wears and what friends he has. She doesn’t allow him to socialize with his friends, controls his work schedule, home schedule, etc. When things don’t go her way, she yells and screams.

I’m afraid this unhealthy relationship is beginning to affect their kids. I hate to see him taken advantage of. What can I do or say to him to help him be more assertive? Or should I talk to her instead? — CONCERNED SISTER

DEAR CONCERNED SISTER: You can’t wave a magic wand and make someone who isn’t assertive be assertive. Nowhere in your letter did you mention that your brother has confided that he’s unhappy with his wife running things. If he does, suggest he talk to a psychologist for tips on how to change the dynamic in his marriage. If not, you should stay out of it.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a man in my 70s. I want to be married. I have never been, but I have always wanted the experience of a wedding.


The bulk of my life has been spent acquiring five graduate degrees beyond high school. I have terminated several long-term relationships and had two failed engagements.

Is there any hope for a wedding for me before my Maker calls? — FORLORN IN THE U.S.A.

DEAR FORLORN: You may yearn for the experience of a wedding, but have you considered what responsibilities may come afterward? Weddings are expensive, but divorce can be even more so.

I find it interesting that you would ask this question without mentioning that you had a particular love interest in mind. Until you figure out why you have a history of failed relationships, I do not think you should rush to the altar. Throw a nice party instead.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old woman who is returning to community college after a 10-year absence. I’m disturbed by the lack of respect that some of my classmates show. Many times they show up 30 to 45 minutes late. (The classes are only an hour and 15 minutes long.) Also, some of them constantly talk during the lectures, forcing the teachers to talk over them.


When I was in college the first time, teachers were allowed to deny a student entry to class if they arrived late and to kick students out if they were causing a disturbance. These students are robbing us of our class time because the teacher must make time to let them in, wait for them to stop talking, etc. Is this just me being too serious, or is this a generational problem of parents not raising children to respect others? — CRANKY COLLEGE LADY

DEAR CRANKY: Neither one. It’s a case of a teacher not being in control of his/her classroom. Talk to the teacher about how you feel, and to the head of the department if you think new rules should be put in place. Your point is valid.

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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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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