Dear Annie: My husband has the emotional IQ of a 10-year-old. I recently spent six hours in the emergency room for some tests to rule out a potentially life-threatening problem. I asked my husband to please drive me to the ER because the doctors did not advise that I drive myself home afterward. His response was that he needed to stay home and take care of our dog.
This is the second time he has done this. Years ago, I had some outpatient surgery. When the nurse went to look for him, he was nowhere to be found. He had driven 45 minutes back to our house to take care of our dog and hadn't returned.
After the six hours in the ER, I drove myself home. I was extremely tired, hungry (I had not eaten since breakfast) and stressed out. Due to nearby construction, I had to walk several blocks in the cold and the dark to get to my car.
When I got home, my husband didn't even bother to ask how I was. I had hoped (silly me) that he would buy me flowers or take me out to dinner. What I got instead were stupid jokes and snarky comments. I blew my top.
He still doesn't get that he let me down when I needed him. I told him he couldn't have caused me any greater hurt than if he had hit me. (He's not an abuser. Just stupid.) Talking to a counselor is out of the question. I'm a very private person and would not be comfortable talking to someone about this. I only needed a little TLC. How do I make him understand? — Devastated in Dixie
Dear Dixie: We suspect your husband is highly uncomfortable dealing with hospitals and sick people, so he avoids you during these times. The dog provides a good excuse, but he shouldn't be let off the hook. You need to be very blunt on these occasions: "Honey, I need you to stay with me at the hospital because I get scared all by myself. Can you watch TV in my room?" If you know you'll be there all day, make arrangements for the dog with a neighbor. If these efforts still don't work, find a friend to accompany you so your husband's emotional inadequacy doesn't leave you stranded and upset.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Weighing on My Mind in Pennsylvania," who said his sister disowned him because he didn't attend a memorial service for her brother-in-law, with whom he didn't socialize much.
I'd like to say this to him: Your sister reached out and personally asked whether you would attend her brother-in-law's funeral. That should have been a big clue that your attendance was important to her. Your response, that you had "other things going on," was thoughtless and self-centered. Look back on your relationship and ask yourself whether this is the only time you've behaved this way, or was it simply the last straw? — Probably More to the Story
Dear More: You could be right. But we also think men sometimes need to be taught (or put more effort into learning) the emotional nuances of what others actually want and need from them. This guy struck us as more clueless than self-centered. But you make some good points, and we thank you.
Happy Easter to our readers.
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.