Dear Annie: This is an open note to my husband:
Dear Husband: I love you, and most of the time, I like you, as well. However, right now, I am too angry to talk to you.
When I exhaust myself doing "womanly" things like cleaning the moldy shower stall that you never notice, you gush gratitude. When I spend umpteen hours on the garden, you tell everyone what a terrific, independent woman you married.
Then you destroy all that loving support. When I take care of repairs or maintenance to the house or car, you always jump in after the fact, pointing out how I've been "taken advantage of" and "spent too much," indicating that you, a man, would have known better. When I confront you, your derision gets worse. Suddenly, I am no longer that cool, intelligent woman you married. Now I am "unreasonable," along with ignorant and naive. So I put up with your disrespect and feel like a fool.
You make hurtful remarks to our children and friends. Then you laugh and tell them how funny it is that I just gave you "that look." Would you rather I say out loud that you are capable of being one of the most inconsiderate people I know and that you are a first-class jerk? I don't want to air our dirty linen in front of everyone, so I fold. And you think you win. But we both just lost, big time.
We have been together too long for me to leave. But when you wonder why the closeness and intimacy have diminished, look in the mirror before you point a finger at me. — Tired and Disgusted Other Half
Dear Tired: You have written an excellent letter explaining how a loving husband can undermine his wife's affection and, over time, erode the marital bond. We suggest you show your husband this letter and tell him you wrote it. We think he will want to fix this before it's too late. Get counseling if you need it.
Dear Annie: My friend "Joe" rarely showers and smells like it. I have told him gently that he needs to shower more, and he says, "You're right. I should."
I wonder how his co-workers put up with the smell. I have given him light men's cologne as a hint, but he doesn't use it. I know he has decent soap in his place. And while he shaves a couple of times a week, he rarely combs his hair. What can I do? — Need a Gas Mask
Dear Need: You have to be more direct and consider that you are doing your friend a favor, hard as it may be to say the words. Tell him, "Joe, you probably don't realize how bad it is, but you have a noticeable body odor, and it is difficult to be around you. You absolutely need to shower at least three times a week and wear deodorant every day. It is no longer optional. You also might want to talk to your doctor, as it could be a medical problem." You can discuss his hair another day.
Dear Annie: Fed Up in a Lonely Home said he suffers from bipolar disease and depression, as well as a hearing disability. His family was not supportive, and he was having trouble finding employment.
I would like to suggest vocational rehabilitation services in his state. Vocational rehabilitation services serve all people with disabilities to help them obtain, maintain or achieve a better employment outcome, free of charge. — Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: Thank you for this excellent information. We hope "Fed Up" will look into it.
Dear Readers: Sunday, Dec. 14, is The Compassionate Friends' Worldwide Candle Lighting in memory of all the children who have died. Please light a candle in the evening at 7 p.m., local time, and remember them with love. For more information, log on to compassionatefriends.org.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. 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.