Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My husband speaks to his mom every morning. For the past couple of months, her health has been failing, and she spends most of her days in the hospital having an extremely tough time. Hearing his mom suffer daily is affecting my husband’s mental health. It sets the tone for the whole day, and I spend my mornings trying to cheer him up.

How do I tell him these daily conversations with his mom are starting to affect my mornings? Even the dog has begun showing signs of depression. Would I be selfish to suggest he needs to talk to her at a different time or maybe on fewer days? — BYSTANDER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BYSTANDER: Your husband may not have much longer to talk with his very ill mother, so I don’t recommend you approach the subject that way. What I do suggest is that you tell your husband how much you love him, and that you can see and feel his distress over her condition. Then suggest he talk with a mental health professional who can help him work this through, because you can see how much pain this is causing him. Then cross your fingers and hope he will realize how much he needs it.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing this in the hope that the man of my dreams reads it. I don’t know how to approach him. He’s getting ready to retire, and I have fallen deeply in love with him as the years have gone by.
He’s a little on the chubby side (as am I), but his personality has always amused me. Sometimes he poses “sexy” as a joke and will often show his bellybutton. I find him staring at me out of the corner of his eye most days. Please help before it’s too late. I’m running out of time. — HIS DREAM GUY IN TENNESSEE
DEAR DREAM GUY: You stated that your dream man is getting ready to retire. I can’t think of a better reason for a celebration. Suggest the two of you go out for a drink or dinner after work “so you can toast his upcoming retirement.” Then cross your fingers that he agrees. It could be the start of something beautiful.
DEAR ABBY: My husband suffered a stroke eight years ago. Everyone thinks he’s fine physically and mentally, except those closest to him. We know his brain doesn’t function the same. Example: When he went to fill out a job application, he asked me whose name should be put in the applicant field.
He occasionally had a short temper, but in recent months, he has grown verbally abusive to the point that I’m considering divorcing him. Anything can set him off, and there is no correct reaction from me. I am going to seek counseling. Any other advice for me? — READY TO LEAVE IN DELAWARE
DEAR READY: I do have one other bit of advice. You stated that “everyone” thinks your husband is fine physically and mentally. Are you including his doctors in that statement? Forgetting to put one’s own name on a job application and having a recent personality change could be signs of dementia. You should let them know you are worried so he can be evaluated.
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.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker,
1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500

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