DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my loving husband for 28 years. We have a great relationship, and are soul mates. On holidays and birthdays my husband is generous, but he buys me jewelry that suits HIS taste, not mine. He likes a specific style that I don’t care for at all, so it sits unworn in my closet. After all these years, he finally asked me why I never wear the jewelry he gives me, and I politely replied that I don’t care for that style of silver jewelry.
Well, last Christmas morning, what did I find under the tree? You guessed it! Another piece of that kind of jewelry. I kind of lost it and told him he was wasting his money, and I’d rather he would gift me jewelry that suits MY taste instead of his. I wasn’t intending to hurt his feelings, but I did, and he was very angry. Rather than honor my wish for something I can enjoy and appreciate, I’ll probably never see another piece of jewelry from him. (By the way, he does this with vacations, too. He makes reservations without my input.) Was I wrong for finally expressing myself? Could I have handled it differently? — NOT MY STYLE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR NOT MY STYLE: Your mistake was in allowing this problem to fester before leveling with your husband, who by now has wasted heaven-only-knows how much money on jewelry that isn’t to your liking. The two of you seem to have a communication problem. He should have paid attention when you told him not to buy you any more silver jewelry, and he should consult you before unilaterally booking vacation reservations. But nothing will change unless you make it plain how you feel about these things, and if he is willing to listen.
DEAR ABBY: I’m looking for advice for handling a big move my wife and I are making. We live in Florida and plan to move to West Virginia. We each came into our marriage with two kids. Hers are 25 and 20; mine are 22 and 20. We have worked hard during the 14 years we have been together, and we have decided that it’s now time for “us.”
Our girls, the 25- and 22-year-olds, seem to understand, but the boys are giving us a hard time. My wife is more susceptible to the “poor me” routines from the boys and seems to be wavering. We’ve left open the possibility of the boys coming with us, but they don’t want to live in “boring” West Virginia. My view is that the “boys” are no longer kids and can survive on their own.
I think we have set solid examples of how to live and work hard, and she and I deserve to do our thing at this time. Am I going about things the wrong way? — FREE DAD IN FLORIDA
DEAR DAD: My question to you would be the extent to which those 20-year-olds are able to support themselves, or how long you plan to help them transition to independence. Are they still in school? Do they have jobs? Can they afford to live on their own? It’s time for a family meeting in which everyone lays their cards on the table and options are discussed.
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.