Dear Abby: When my husband is sick or needs to have surgery, he refuses to tell his family and doesn’t want me to. This puts me in a very awkward position. I’m damned if I do tell them because he will be upset with me, and damned if I don’t because his family won’t trust me, and I don’t want things that way.
Invariably, when he gets home, he calls his family and tells them all about his surgery, and I’m left looking like I withheld the information, when it’s not me at all. I have asked him what if he DIES? His family will be upset not only by the tragedy, but also at me for having kept them in the dark.
I’m considering leaving him over this. I don’t deserve this from him. And no, he won’t see a counselor and I won’t do it alone, so do you have any other advice than that?
In a Difficult Position
Dear In a Difficult Position: You should not be made to feel that you’re stuck in the middle. It would be nice if your husband understood that when he is sick enough to be hospitalized that YOU might need the emotional support his family could offer. But since it’s not going to happen, he should make plain to his family that HE prefers to be the bearer of this kind of news, and the reason they aren’t hearing it from you is because he wants it that way.
Dear Abby: I love my sister and enjoy chatting with her, but our schedules make it difficult to connect. When we do speak, her husband often interjects or starts another conversation with her, as if she isn’t on the phone. She also settles spats between her toddlers and other things her husband could manage while we’re talking.
When this happens I say, “I can tell you’re tied up. Can we talk later when things settle down?” Her reply: “We can talk now. Things are ALWAYS crazy around here.”
As it stands, we speak only a few times a year, and I’d like her undivided attention. I have tried bringing this up a number of times, but she feels life doesn’t stand still for anyone.
Is it too much to ask for 30 minutes, three times a year? We live several states apart, so having a face-to-face isn’t an option. Any help would be appreciated, because I’m hurt.
Missing My Sister
Dear Missing Your Sister: I don’t blame you for feeling hurt, because apparently your sister isn’t interested in having the kind of contact you would like. It may be that her husband is ultra-controlling — hence the constant interruptions from him — or that her household is so disorganized she’s in the middle of a whirlwind.
If you haven’t already, write her a letter and express your feelings. It’s one way of getting your thoughts across without being interrupted. I don’t think 30 minutes three times a year is a lot to ask of her. Propose setting a specific time to talk when her kids and husband aren’t around. Then cross your fingers and hope she sees the light.
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.