My husband lost his job. He had worked there since we were married 10 years ago, and earned top wages because he had been with them for so long.

Two years into our marriage, when we found out we were expecting our first child, we decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom. My husband has taken care of us financially ever since. I loved that I was able to rely on my husband for financial security.

Since he lost his job, I am angry, frustrated and hurt. His own actions caused his dismissal. I have told him how I feel, but he just yells at me. I feel he should at least listen to how I am feeling.

I’m scared for our future. We have two children under the age of 7, and we are paying child support for his oldest child, who lives with his ex. I want to support my husband, but I feel pushed away and disregarded. How can I show support when I am so scared and frustrated and blame him?

— ON SHAKY GROUND, North Carolina


I understand your feelings, but have you considered what turmoil your husband is feeling? Having been the breadwinner for so long, he is suddenly unable to provide for the woman and children he loves.

If you want to be supportive, stop demonstrating your anger, fear and frustration for a while. If you do, it may help him regain his balance sooner. And while you are at it, be prepared to make financial adjustments until he finds another job (including seeking a job for yourself). I’m not saying it will be easy, but please give it a try. He already knows he has disappointed you. Please don’t make it harder for him than it already is.

Death by home movie


I am hoping you can give me guidance on how my wife and I can deal with my in-laws and the fact that they are sometimes socially obtuse. They are nice people, but sometimes they have no concept of appropriate behavior.

The latest was when we had a small party for my wife’s birthday. They arrived and then asked to show home movies from when she was a kid. They proceeded to show more than an hour of video in which my wife was on screen for 15 seconds and knew the other people in the movie for only the first two minutes.

My in-laws do things like this regularly, and I want a nice way to say “stop.” My wife agrees with me but doesn’t know how to deal with this either.



Encourage your wife to speak up for herself. Rather than allow her parents to take over and diminish the occasion, the next time they suggest something you and your wife are not on board with, she should “suggest” that it happen another time. And in the case of the home movie, she should have said, “Enough, already!”

Friends don’t let friend starve


A friend invited me to have lunch with her. I let her know it would be a little while before I arrived because I was in the middle of doing something. When I arrived, she had already finished her lunch! I thought it was incredibly rude, and I declined to eat. Am I correct?



When you told your friend it might be a little while before you arrived, did you indicate how long you would be? Fifteen minutes? A half-hour? An hour? Longer? Friends don’t let friends starve, and you shouldn’t have sulked because she couldn’t wait.

When someone is famished, even five minutes can seem interminable.

Again? This is embarrassing


My wife constantly craves compliments about her age.

When we meet people, she regularly asks how old they are, which I think is rude and inappropriate. Then she asks me if I know how old they are, and I say “no” because I don’t think it’s any of my business. She then asks them, “How old do you think I am?” Almost always they guess low, which makes her happy.

She thinks there’s something wrong with me for not being curious about someone’s age. Abby, is it appropriate when meeting someone to ask how old he or she is? To me, it’s like asking how much they weigh — which is also none of my business! Is my wife rude, or am I the one with the problem? I like people but don’t need the intimate details of their lives.



Many people dislike being asked their age, and to ask that question of a stranger is not appropriate. That your wife raises the subject because she seeks validation about her looks is sad.

I’m guessing she will stop doing it when people answer her question honestly.

Jeanne Phillips, who writes under the pen name Abigail Van Buren in honor of her late mother, Pauline, who created “Dear Abby” in 1956, can be reached via or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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