Husband being difficult

Dear Annie: My husband, Don, and I have been married for over 35 years and have five grown children.

Dear Annie: My husband, Don, and I have been married for over 35 years and have five grown children.

Don is a difficult person. When he is around, we all walk on eggshells. To protect the children, I have always been the peacemaker. Things have eased up since the children moved out, but Don has no friends and has become a recluse.

My problem now is that we live like roommates unless he wants sex or a good meal. There is very little emotional engagement, and I am thinking seriously of ending the marriage.

I’ve tried to get him to counseling, but he refuses. He blames me for the problems in our marriage. Don never accepts responsibility for the pain and suffering he has caused.

He’s accused me of affairs with other men and even women. He is jealous that I make friends easily and doesn’t like it when I have anyone over.

Any love I once had for him is buried in anger, bitterness and resentment. I am tired and feel the need to move on, but I don’t know how to do it. Any suggestions? — Burned Out

Dear Burned Out:Staying in a bad marriage for 35 years can take a toll.

Your husband may not realize how close you are to leaving, and he seems too stubborn to make the effort to fix things.

Don’t wait for him to agree to counseling. Go without him. Simply unburdening yourself to a professional can be beneficial, and it will help you work through your feelings and reach a decision about your next step.

Dear Annie: When my husband comes home from work, he throws his keys, wallet and change all over the counters, so I got him a small basket called the “Rob Box” specifically for this purpose.

The problem is, he also throws his wedding ring in with the change, keys and whatever other garbage accumulates in his pockets.

I am religious and see the ring as a sign of our love and commitment, so it bothers me that he treats it in a disrespectful way. He insists he is doing nothing wrong because he wears it whenever he leaves the house.

Annie, if he doesn’t want to keep it on, I would prefer that he leave it in a jewelry box where it won’t be damaged or wedged under his cell phone and a mountain of change. He promised to find a new spot, but nothing has changed. Am I being too uptight, or is he being insensitive? — The Bride

Dear Bride: A little of both. Since he wears the ring when he leaves the house, we wouldn’t worry that he removes it when he returns home.

(It’s possible the ring doesn’t fit him comfortably and a jeweler could help.) However, we certainly understand not wanting to risk losing it under a pile of junk. Try placing a very small container next to the Rob Box and ask him to drop the wedding band there. We think he’ll try to do that for you.

Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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