Dear Abby: “Jake” and I have been married more than 20 years. I married before I was 18, and I’m not even 40 yet. Jake is seven years my senior. We have had our ups and downs, and although the last five years have been fine, I want more out of life than sitting home watching TV or hanging out with him.
We have two children. One is away at college and the other starting high school. When I talk to my husband about wanting to do things, he says I should have done them when I was younger. But I married him before I was even an adult!
Is it wrong to want to go out and do things I never got to do when I was a teenager? It makes me question whether or not I want to be married to him anymore. I still love him, but I have changed.
Jake insists we don’t need counseling and I just need to get over it and accept that this is my life. What if I don’t want to regret what I have never had a chance to do?
Wants More Out West
Dear Wants More: I’m sorry, but you can’t relive your lost teenage years.
I wish you had been more specific about what it is you want to do. If it’s go out and have some fun, perhaps some of your girlfriends would like to go with you. Instead of sitting home, you and Jake could socialize with other couples. If you’re into sports, why not join a women’s sports team? If you’re not, how about a book club? You don’t have to sit around and vegetate.
You also didn’t mention whether you completed high school. If you didn’t receive a diploma, you would be well-served to work on earning your GED, which could widen your horizons and opportunities considerably.
Dear Abby: I have two daughters, 11 and 14. They fight over many things, but what gets to me is the way they fight over what television shows to watch.
My younger daughter has nightmares if she watches even mildly dramatic cop/lawyer-type shows. However, my older daughter loves them.
At home, I’d have one kid watch TV in one room and the other in the other room. However, when they’re at the sitter’s house, which has only one TV, they call me at work and fight over the phone over who watches what. They both accuse me of favoring the other.
How do I deal with this fairly without upsetting them? And how do I keep my younger daughter from having nightmares?
Doing My Best
Dear Doing: Because your younger daughter has nightmares after viewing shows that create anxiety, she shouldn’t be forced to do it. When they are at their sitter’s, they should alternate days when each has control of the remote control. When your older girl has it, the younger one should be encouraged to read a book of her choosing and/or listen to music. When the younger one gets to do the choosing, the older one should do the same.
Dear Abby: Christmas and birthday gifts I will never use have accumulated around my house. I’d like to have a yard sale, but many of the items came from close friends and family. I feel guilty getting rid of them because the people who gave them to me obviously meant well. Would selling them be wrong?
One gift was from my mother. I live at home, so she will notice if I stick it in the garage sale. I can’t let this extra stuff sit around. It’s taking up space and I need the money for a very expensive college. But I’m afraid of people finding out that I don’t want their presents. What should I do?
In New York
Dear Downsizing: Selling the items would not be wrong. Once a gift is given, it is yours to do with as you please. If you offer them for sale online, it will be less obvious and cause fewer hurt feelings.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.