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by Abigail Van Buren

Dying Husband Regrets Wasted Years With Wife

DEAR ABBY: I am dying of cancer. For the past few days, I have been pondering the wasted years I have spent with my wife. We never savored our time together.

Surely I am at fault, but from the early days of our marriage, my wife was always "too busy" to sit and talk or go for walks. There was always another load of clothes or dishes to wash, or an important phone call to make.

When we had children, she was too busy to go with us to the playground or church. Even though I would bathe the kids and clean up the bathroom, she'd follow behind me and clean it again because it wasn't "clean enough." She wouldn't let me change the baby's diapers because I "might not do it right." I couldn't even put the dishes in the dishwasher correctly -- only she could. So, as you can see, I wasn't much help around the house. As an attorney, I brought home more than enough money to hire a housekeeper, but no one was up to her standards.

She was usually asleep when I left for work. We were seldom ever awake in bed at the same time -- so we rarely made love. I don't even know what time she comes to bed. I often find her still awake when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Abby, I love my beautiful wife and have never strayed, but I suspect she will be too busy to miss me much after I have gone. I am writing this because I hope other couples will use their time together more wisely. -- LEARNED TOO LATE IN FORT WORTH

DEAR LEARNED TOO LATE: I'm sure your wife thought that by being "Superwoman" she was meeting your needs. How sad that no one ever told her that there is far more to being a good wife than having "whiter whites" and spot-free dishes.

You and she seem to have lived parallel lives -- always on the same freeway, but never in the same lane. Although it is too late for you, thank you for wanting to warn other couples for whom it is not too late. Peace be with you.

DEAR ABBY: I love my boyfriend, "Joe," with all my heart; however, we have a communication problem. Sometimes I feel he is dodging me or doesn't want to talk to me. Joe thinks our conversations always lead to an argument, so he tries to avoid talking.

Joe recently moved six hours away, making it even harder to talk. I understand he may be excited about living in a new town, but I feel I deserve a little more respect than I'm getting. I'd like to talk to Joe about this, but every time I call him he ignores my questions and practically hangs up on me.

Abby, how can I improve our communication? -- ALONE BY THE TELEPHONE

DEAR ALONE: I hate to appear negative, but where do you get the idea that this man is your boyfriend? It's time to move on, because Joe already has -- physically and emotionally.

DEAR ABBY: After being married for 30 years, I told our oldest son (just home from the Navy) that I could still feel my heart lift when his dad walked into the room. My son said it was just infatuation.

It has been 61 years now, and I still feel the same. Do you think my son was right? -- MOTHER OF 10

DEAR MOTHER: No. Your son was mistaken. If after 61 years of marriage your heart still "lifts" when you see your husband, you have the special kind of love that everyone aspires to.

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