Husband lashes out amid criticism of bad behavior

Published 8:21 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: My husband rarely says “thank you” and almost never apologizes for anything. The other day, I was at an office party to which family members were not invited. I brought home a plate of food for my husband, for which he refused to thank me when I hinted that a “thanks” might be nice, especially since it was dinnertime. 

The office “lunch” had been hours ago, and I had brought nothing for myself. He said because I hadn’t come home when I said I would, he didn’t feel the need to thank me. When I told him it’s common courtesy to thank people, he continued arguing and eventually threw the plate of food across the room. Now he won’t apologize for that either. He feels he was justified in throwing the food. 

Abby, my husband is a college professor and well-educated, yet he often overlooks common courtesy. He usually walks fast and ahead of me when we’re going places. He never says, “You look nice,” and he leaves the house without mentioning where he is going. It doesn’t concern him that it upsets me, as he is convinced that he is right about everything. The food-throwing is an extreme example of his behavior, but it has me concerned about his mental health at this point. Advice, please. – NEVER THANKED IN NEW JERSEY

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DEAR NEVER THANKED: Your husband’s mental health is fine. What you have described in detail is not new behavior. The professor has been an educated boor for years and is clearly unwilling to change. I would question YOUR judgment for having tolerated his disrespectful behavior for the length of time you have because he has shown you repeatedly that your feelings are of little consequence to him.


DEAR ABBY: My sister lost her husband a year ago. She has three grown children, but she has a fractured relationship with her 30-year-old daughter. I am heartbroken because I have two daughters and I can’t imagine what my sister is going through. 

My niece was close to her father and has thrown in my sister’s face that he was her person and she told him everything. My niece and I have a good relationship, and she confides to me things she does not speak to her mother about. 

I am debating whether to speak to my niece to get a sense of what her issue with my sister really is. My niece blames her mother for everything. I’m not sure if trying to help will backfire. Please help. – INVOLVED AUNT IN CONNECTICUT


DEAR AUNT: I am sure you mean well, but I don’t think it would be helpful to insert yourself as a mediator between your sister and your niece. For whatever reason, your niece felt more comfortable confiding in her late father than in your sister. Stating that fact out loud was not “throwing it in someone’s face.” 

Your relationship with your daughters is clearly different from the one your sister has with hers. Unless you want to alienate your niece, let the two of them work it out.


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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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