Wife resists man’s efforts to improve her lifestyle

Published 9:43 am Monday, February 15, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I met my wife when we were very young and into partying. We’re now middle-aged and heading in different directions.
I focus on physical and mental well-being. I work out daily, eat healthy and maintain a positive attitude. She spends her free time lying around, drinking, smoking and constantly exposing herself to negativity through the internet. She’s now on medication for depression and anxiety.
My attempts at discussion are mostly met with anger and defensiveness or are dismissed as “a bad time to talk.” I feel we have reached a crossroads in our health. I want her to be as fit and healthy as possible so we can enjoy our golden years together. How do I get her to join me in a healthier lifestyle before it’s too late? — WILLING IN WASHINGTON

DEAR WILLING: Your wife may have reached a fork in the road of her life. If your description is accurate, you are living with a woman who is depressed, angry, defensive, anxious and self-destructive.
A way to get her to join you in a healthier lifestyle would be to convince her that her own path to wellness will begin with consulting a mental health professional before it is too late and the damage she is doing to herself becomes irreversible. When you do, make sure she knows you are saying it because you love her and want to enjoy a long and happy life with her — something that is clearly not happening for her right now. If she still refuses, then continue doing what you’re doing, recognizing you cannot save someone who refuses to help herself.
DEAR ABBY: My best friend is retired and alone, as am I. She recently moved next door so we can help each other if needed.
Since COVID, we feel safe seeing each other because we never go out in public places and all our shopping is done with delivery or curbside pickup. She doesn’t like to cook, but I love to, so most evenings she’s invited to dinner. She comes over about four times a week and usually takes home the leftovers for the other nights.
What bothers me is I usually eat dinner at the same time, and I remind her of it each time I invite her, yet she’s invariably late. At first it was just a minute or two, but it’s getting later and later. Tonight I waited 20 minutes for her.
I time my dishes to the minute, and I like my food hot and not overcooked. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but I’m becoming increasingly irritated. Any suggestions on how I can get the message across without jeopardizing our friendship? — FRESH MEALS IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR FRESH: Your friend may be disorganized or just plain thoughtless. The next time you invite her, tell her that because you like your dinner hot — and not overcooked — you will start eating at the appointed time and no longer continue to wait for her. You don’t have to be mean about it, just firm, and then follow through.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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