Dear Abby: Punctuality is important to me. My husband has many great qualities, but punctuality is not one of them. We have been married 20-plus years and, after many discussions, have not been able to come to agreement on this. We are late to church almost every Sunday and to most parties and family events.
I think it’s rude to keep people waiting, and it gives me anxiety. I have tried taking separate cars but think, as a couple, we should arrive together. It seems like when I try to urge him to hurry, he purposely slows down. It has reached the point where we are angry at each other by the time we finally arrive anywhere. Any advice?
— Hare Married to Tortoise
Dear Hare: Yes. Take the separate cars. No one cares whether you arrive “together” or not, unless you are going to a dinner party. And if your husband will be late for that, assure your hosts that it isn’t necessary to wait for him to arrive. To the extent you can, try fudging the event time. But until he suffers the consequences, his behavior will not change.
Dear Abby: My fiancee has been married twice and insists on maintaining contact with four prior sexual partners (other than husbands). Most of the contact is by Facebook, instant message and cellphone. But one former partner is a high school classmate she sees every year at class “get-togethers.”
I think what she’s doing is inappropriate and will certainly be so after we are married. She insists they are just “friends” and I am being immature and “untrusting.” She’s adamant that she is unwilling to cease contact with these former sexual partners (now friends) under any circumstances. What’s a guy to do?
— Crowded in Florida
Dear Crowded: A “guy” either accepts what his fiancee is telling him — that these old flames are just friends now — or he terminates the engagement and starts searching for a woman he believes he CAN trust.
Dear Abby: My husband and I have been good friends with another couple for more than a decade. The wife has a degenerative illness and is now paralyzed and unable to feed herself. We would love to stay close with them while recognizing the problems they face in planning meetings. Now, at our infrequent get-togethers, it always ends with “we should get together,” but then no plans are realized.
I know there’s intense pressure on the husband between work, care of their teenage child and health care for his wife.
How can we tactfully stay in touch, and at the same time relieve some of the pressure on the husband? I’d love to set up a bimonthly coffee or lunch, but I realize some days, the wife may not be up for it.
–– Good Friend in Maryland
Dear Friend: You ARE a good friend, and a caring one. Every caregiver needs an occasional break so he or she can recharge.
It would be a kindness to call him and offer to be with his wife for a few hours so he can spend some time doing things for himself that he may have postponed. I can’t promise that he’ll take you up on it, but he may.
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 DearAbby.com.
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