Like Two Ships in the Night
Dear Margo: I love my husband very much, but he has some OCD traits, and over the years they’ve gotten worse. (We’re both in our 60s.) He’s retired but still “working.” He spends all day on the computer, checking security updates, reading a list of forums that interest him and doing other things he deems essential. If we go out in the evening, which is rare, he speaks of “getting behind” in his “work.” The list of stuff he “has to do” has gradually pushed our dinnertime later and later. Added to all this is the fact that he has a lot of medical problems and sleeps very poorly, so he often gets up around 1:00 pm or later in the day. The result of all this is that he now expects me to eat dinner with him at 10 or 10:30 at night.
I am a morning person. I really hate eating late, going to bed even later, and getting up the next day at noon — which is what happens if I go along with his schedule. I have talked to him about changing, and he claims he’s trying to do so, but it never happens. I have my own friends and an active social life without him, but I’m still not happy. I miss the husband I used to have. Is there anything I can do to change this situation? –Missing Him
Dear Miss: Your husband’s “work” sounds harmless enough. I believe it’s his schedule that’s throwing a monkey wrench into your life. For the OCD situation, as well as the schedule he has slipped into, I would recommend a therapist and also a psychopharmacologist, since there are effective meds with which to treat OCD. I think if that happens, you can “get him back” and his vampire hours will moderate. Having your own activities is the right thing to do. As for dinner at 10 (just like Spain!), I suggest you eat separately and keep the schedule that’s comfortable for you until he gets both help and results. –Margo, hopefully
Being Rude Via Text Message
Dear Margo: Yesterday, my daughter’s 14-year-old friend “Sarah” was disrespectful to me in a text message when I asked her to pass some information along to the coach of their team. (My daughter was home sick, and I did not have the coach’s information to reach her myself.) The text message bothered me all day, and I have no idea how to deal with it. I know the girl’s mother very well. She is a wonderful person, and we get along well. She would be beside herself if she knew that Sarah texted me what she did.
Do I say something to this kid next time I see her? Do I mention it to her mother? I am getting conflicting opinions from friends. I’m afraid that if I don’t speak my mind, I will have a difficult time containing my feelings of disappointment the next time Sarah is at my house. My daughter is very upset at what transpired, but Sarah is known to have attitude issues. It often surprises me that they are friends, but my daughter is very honest about telling Sarah that her attitude needs to change. I don’t want my daughter to get involved, so I am not expecting her to say anything about this. –Irked Mom
Dear Irk: This rude kid is 14. You are … well, you are older. I would not get down on the kid’s level to set her straight. If you were to bring up the text message, it would mean absolutely nothing to this teenager with attitude, so spare yourself the agita. What would be good is if your daughter told her she didn’t appreciate it. But I would not lean on your child to do this. When next she is at your house, I would be correct, but chilly. –Margo, maturely
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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