DEAR ABBY: My husband was downsized from a large company 16 months ago. He collected unemployment for six months, then began a business that he runs from our home.
I have been the sole support of our family during this period. Recently he began taking a class near his former office. His class began in the morning and ended at 2 p.m. When he returned home one evening, I asked him how his day had gone. He stated that he had gone to lunch with a lady from his old office. (She happened to call him last week for someone's phone number and mentioned that "no one ever takes her to lunch.") My husband generously offered because he was going to be in the area the next week. He never mentioned it during the week prior to what I call "his date."
His class needed to work through lunch, so he called her to tell her. She offered to wait for him and have a late lunch when his class was over. He called her on my cell phone before the end of class to say he'd pick her up. This was at 1:30 p.m. He picked her up at his former office, and they drove to an expensive restaurant because "he didn't want to run into any former co-workers from his old company."
As he told me this story, I started to get angry because he had told me the previous day that we could not go out to eat because money was tight. When he saw I was getting angry, he jokingly said he had just made up the story to see my reaction. I decided to check it out by looking for a receipt from the restaurant that he originally stated he had gone to. I found it in his wallet and saw that his first story had been the correct one.
Looking back, I now realize that he cleaned his car -- something he never does -- in preparation for this date, borrowed my cell phone to confirm the date, and was unusually concerned about his appearance before going to this class that day. He thinks I'm out of line for being upset that he took this divorced "friend" to lunch. He says I'm jealous.
I feel used and disrespected since he kept the date a secret, picked her up for the lunch and then lied about it. What do you think? -- ANGRY WIFE
DEAR WIFE: I think your marriage could use a clean-up job. I smell a rat -- and I think it's your husband.
DEAR ABBY: I would like to share with you our son-in-law's clever and distinctive names for me and my husband.
He calls us "MIL" (or "Millie") for mother-in-law, and "FIL" for father-in-law. This nicely solves the multiple "Moms" and "Dads" problem when both families gather for parties.
On another note: His parents were already grandparents with their own special names before he and our daughter gave birth to a son.
When our grandson was close to 2, and we despaired of ever having a grandparent name, he began calling me "Mum" -- his version of our daughter's "Mom" name for me.
Perhaps this will be of help to other families having difficulties with the "name game." -- A HAPPY 'MIL' IN BONSALL, CALIF.
DEAR HAPPY 'MIL': You have an innovative son-in-law. His nicknames for you and your husband are refreshing when one considers what some in-laws are called.
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