ABBA’S WAY: My husband is hard of hearing. No matter what I ask him for or when we talk, he denies ever having spoken to him, asked him to do anything, etc.
When I suggest that he may have a hearing problem and should see a doctor, he becomes angry and belligerent and denies that there is something wrong with him. Our marriage turned into one big fight.
I asked him to say, “I didn’t hear you. Could you please repeat that? “When he doesn’t hear me, but it didn’t work. He still vehemently denies anything I said to him. If I can’t hear him clearly, please repeat what I didn’t hear.
How can I convince him he needs a hearing aid before these fights end our marriage?
ON DEEP EARS IN THE WESTERN VIRGINI
DEAR ODE: This is an issue that both of you should discuss with your husband’s doctor, ideally before the next physical exam. Unfortunately, his denial is shared by many who equate hearing loss with something to be ashamed of.
I may suggest a “blindfold” in the meantime, although without intervention, your husband’s problem will worsen and he will become more and more socially isolated. For now, if you want his attention, please touch his arm or shoulder before asking him a question. That way, he would have to be careful.
ABBA’S WAY: My parents have been married for 22 years. They separated in 2007, and by 2008 the divorce was final.
While it was good for both of them, the effects of their marriage were intense. I won’t go into the ugly details but they both had their downsides and it was hard.
Dad moved on since the divorce. Unfortunately, a few months ago he suddenly lost his 13-year-old wife.
Mom continues to blame Dad for all the bad things that have happened to her since the divorce, even though she chose to quit her job and become disabled, which severely limited her income and opportunities.
When my father’s wife died, my mother was almost happy. She said she knew the same sadness about what she went through with her divorce. (His no same.)
This year I would like to invite my dad to a Christmas meeting with his family, because he will be alone most of the time, but my mother does not want to come if he is there. How can I help her keep going?
DEAR, INCLUDING: Remember the saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? All these years your mother nurtured her anger like a baby. The only person who can help her “move on” is herself, which she clearly does not want to do.
Ask your father how he would feel if he joined the family during the coming vacation. It may turn out that he would rather avoid her and meet the friends he and his wife had during their marriage. But please don’t let your mother dictate who you may or may not receive in your home. If she wants to stay away, it will be her privilege and punishment.
Dear Abby was 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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.