Dear Annie: My husband is very successful, but intense. He always has to be right, always has to have the answers and expounds and explains everything over and over. He elaborates on every issue and always has to know the reason something is the way it is or why you feel a certain way. I have overlooked this for years, but it’s reached the point where I can’t ignore it anymore.
During a casual conversation, if a statement is made that he disagrees with, it becomes monumental. If I say the house is blue, he’ll insist it’s gray. If I agree, he makes me admit he was right. If I say I was mistaken and I’m sorry, he wants to know why I thought it was blue to begin with.
If he cannot remember someone’s name, he obsesses over it, even going through the alphabet out loud until he remembers which letter it starts with. If something is misspelled, he delights in pointing it out. He will yell out an answer to something we discussed two days ago and expect me to know what he is talking about.
Right now, I don’t want to say anything at all for fear it will cause an argument. I admit I don’t always get my facts straight, but if it’s not a matter of national security, why not just let it go? It’s as if I’m waving a red cape at a bull every time I open my mouth. Otherwise, he is a good guy. Is this some kind of disorder? — Frustrated Girl
Dear Frustrated: Let’s just call it “Annoying Spouse Syndrome.” Your husband isn’t likely to recognize this as a failing or do anything about it. Some behaviors, over time, become worse, so we sympathize, but if he won’t change, you will have to find a way to deal with it. Try telling him, in plain English, that you’ve had enough and he needs to stop. If he won’t (or can’t), we urge you to humor him (“Yes, dear, you’re right.”) or tune him out as best you can and let him fume alone.
Dear Annie: Recently, my wife’s parents stayed with us, along with my wife’s sister and her husband of five months.
During their stay, the newlyweds not once, but twice, thought it would be appropriate to shower together. We may only have one bathroom, but there is plenty of hot water for everyone to shower separately.
It was awkward for us, and I would not dare do this at someone’s house. Is this appropriate behavior? Please advise. — Brother-in-Law
Dear Brother-in-Law: They’re newlyweds, and although showering together and other intimacies may make you uncomfortable, it is perfectly normal for them to want to do so, especially if they are staying more than a weekend. Considerate guests do not make themselves too obvious, and gracious hosts look the other way. If, however, they are making a spectacle of themselves, your wife should tell her sister to be more discreet or knock it off.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Nauseated on Cape Cod,” whose neighbor smokes cigars outside and the odor permeates her deck and the open windows of her guest bedroom.
I would suggest they get several small tabletop fans and set them up in the guest bedroom and on the deck so that they face the neighbor’s house. Once the fans are turned on, they should blow the smoke right back in his direction.
As long as they keep the fans blowing while he is smoking, it should take care of the odor problem. It also could make the point without any harsh words between neighbors. — Lynne in Florida
Dear Lynne: A reasonable suggestion — and we hope it is effective.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger on 11.12.07