Dear Abby: I have been married for 45 years. My husband and I get along fine. We each have our little quirks, but after all these years, we are used to each other. There is just one thing that really bugs me about him. When repairs need to be done outside the house, we have it done — new roof, new siding, driveway paved, even solar panels. We have also done some work inside, such as remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms.
Twelve years after moving into our home, I finally insisted that it be repainted on the inside. My husband griped about it nonstop. I told him he didn’t have to do the painting; we would hire someone to do the job. (He did have to help me move the furniture.)
Well, now it’s time to replace the carpet. It’s original. It’s 30 years old, stained and worn out. Again, he’s griping and complaining. It drives a wedge between us. Money isn’t the issue. He says I am “always bothering him with one thing after another.” Is it asking too much to have these things done inside my home after so many years?
Dear Wife: I don’t think so. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes carpet. Make a deal with him — you will hire someone to move the furniture this time if he will stop complaining. The disruption will be over in a few days, and the interior of your home will look fresher and newer once that carpet is history.
Dear Abby: I have a problem I don’t think you have ever addressed. Both of my testicles have been removed. Fortunately, they were not cancerous. It doesn’t bother my wife, which is a blessing. Most support groups are for cancer survivors, and I’m wondering if you know of any groups for men like me. Some days I still can’t cope with it because this is part of being a man. Any suggestions?
Trying to Cope
Dear Trying to Cope: The doctor who saw you through the procedure may be able to refer you to a group or a therapist who can help you with your adjustment. If you haven’t already contacted that physician, it would be a good place to start. Although most members of support groups are probably cancer survivors, you still will have much in common, so keep an open mind before dismissing the idea entirely.
Dear Abby: What is the appropriate response when I get an invitation to go somewhere and I must decline because I can’t afford it or don’t want to pay for it? I’m trying to cut my expenses, and I’m embarrassed that I can’t afford any new expenses.
I appreciate the invitations, and sometimes, if it’s worth it to me, I will accept. I don’t want to lie when I really want to say, “This expense isn’t worth it to me.” What can I say that won’t hurt anyone’s feelings and won’t get me caught in a lie?
Don’t Want to Lie
Dear Don’t Want to Lie: It isn’t shameful to admit to someone that money is tight and you have to cut expenses, so you can’t attend an event. It’s something that everyone should be able to identify with. However, you should refrain from saying the expense “isn’t worth it to you,” because it comes across as judgmental, and the person may take offense.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.