Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 10 years, but I sometimes wonder whether I love him or am just used to having him around. We have no kids, and I've started thinking of how my life would be without him.
This all began when he first displayed an awful temper. He never gets physically violent, but he hurts me tremendously with the things he says. He pays some of my bills, but always puts his wants and needs before household things that are more important, like fixing the car or filling my prescriptions. I have to walk on eggshells most of the time. When it's a holiday or Valentine's Day, he expects me to get him something, but he never does anything special for me.
My friends think I'm still with him because I'm afraid to be alone. There are times when I enjoy his company, but not that often. I'm not even sexually attracted to him anymore. Should I continue on because it just might be a phase I'm going through? — Tired of It
Dear Tired: While all relationships go through ups and downs, yours includes verbal abuse and what appears to be a total lack of consideration. This is not acceptable behavior between loving spouses. If your husband is willing to go with you for counseling and work on this, there is hope for the relationship. If not (and we suspect not), please talk to a counselor on your own and try to clarify your feelings enough to make decisions about your future. There are worse things than being alone.
Dear Annie: I have a friend who dominates every conversation. Upon sitting down to eat, she immediately starts talking about whatever is on her mind and never pauses to let anyone else get a word in. She never asks how anyone else is doing. If not interrupted, she can go on for hours.
Ironically, she complains about how her sister talks on and on about herself. She can see these traits in her siblings, but doesn't realize she is just as bad. Some days, I feel more like her unpaid therapist than a friend. Evenings out have become unpleasant to the point that we don't socialize much anymore.
I have two other friends who behave in a similar manner. I notice that all three come from very large families, so I wonder whether that contributes to their need for attention. Still, we are in our 50s, and they should be more socially mature by now.
Don't suggest confronting these people. They would be so offended, I would lose their friendship forever. I am not looking to change the relationships. I am writing because I wish each person reading this would ask themselves, "Could this be me?" When you sit down with people, ask how their day was. Listen intently until they are done. Don't interrupt with something you "just have to" tell them. Maybe their conversation isn't fascinating, but neither is yours. Everyone should be allowed to share and be heard. — Bored in the USA
Dear Bored: Amen. Some folks ramble on and on because they need to be the center of attention. Others have hearing problems and cannot clearly make out the conversation of others. Some fear they will forget what they intended to say if they don't blurt it out immediately. We hope they appreciate your tolerance.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "A Kansas Caregiver," who asked people to lend a hand to the caregivers. I cared for my husband who had dementia for seven years before he died. My lifesaver during that time was my caregiver support group.
Since then, I have facilitated a caregiver group, and we meet monthly to share happy and poignant stories, medical progress, information about resources, etc. Mostly, meetings are a safe place filled with understanding, nonjudgmental people who are all on the same journey. — Baton Rouge, La.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.