DEAR ABBY: Jerry and I have been married for five years. It's a second marriage for both of us. The problem is we have a serious clash of personalities, which was probably true when we were dating, but I was wearing rose-colored glasses back then.
I'm naturally a positive, upbeat person; Jerry is stubborn and grouchy 90 percent of the time. He picks apart every little thing and looks for reasons to pout or be mad. I found out after we were married that he has been this way since he was very young. I'm usually relieved when he goes off to do something without me, just for the peace I get while he's gone.
I've tried everything I know to help him, but it's very tiring trying to cheer Jerry up. I've come very close to leaving him twice in the last two years.
How does a woman with a positive attitude live with a complaining, nagging man who seems hell-bent on inflicting everyone with his negative attitude? -- TIRED OF LIVING WITH A GROUCH
DEAR TIRED: It is highly unlikely that you can change your husband's personality. However, you can change the way you react to Jerry's moods.
Counseling should help you learn to tolerate his moods so that you will be less affected by them. Ideally, you should both have counseling. If he refuses, go without him.
DEAR ABBY: Your answer to "Frustrated Homeowner," who was upset because his neighbors parked in front of his house, was good up to a point. But what if you got a response like this: "You don't own the street. I need the space in front of my house in case company comes," plus a few choice remarks about your ancestors?
In my case, my neighbor's mother would drive up almost every Saturday morning and park in front of my house, and her car would just sit there until she left Sunday night. The curb in front of my neighbor's house was always empty.
Well, I had phone messages from friends who said, "We drove by Sunday afternoon, but didn't stop because you had company," etc. So one day I went over to my neighbor and asked him if his mother could please park in front of his house. Well, I got a tongue-lashing I'll never forget and went home with my tail between my legs.
The next weekend I brought the company pickup truck home and parked it so that my neighbor's mother would have plenty of room for her car. On Sunday afternoon I pulled the family station wagon out of the garage and parked it up close to the back bumper of her car. Next I backed the pickup close to "Mom's" front bumper and locked both vehicles up tight. Then I went inside to watch television.
About 8 p.m., my doorbell rang. It was my neighbor asking me to move one of the vehicles so that his mom could get out.
"Sure thing," I replied. "I'll be right out just as soon as I get my shoes on." Then I went back to my chair and continued to watch my TV show. Half an hour later, the doorbell rings and it's my irate neighbor wanting to know, "How long does it take to put on your damn shoes?"
Well, after an hour and a half, I moved my pickup, and Mom shot out of there and burned rubber for half a block. I gathered that she was a little upset with me, but she never parked in front of my place again. -- VINCE WOGMAN, CHEHALIS, WASH.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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