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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Reaction to Mom's Death Infuriates Her Sister

DEAR ABBY: How can I tell my dear husband of nearly 50 years that he talks too much? I have tried telling him that conversation is a two-way street, and that as we grow older we should talk less and listen more -- but his way of conversing is to tell long, involved stories, omitting not the slightest detail, and he will tell his life story to anyone who will listen.

I dread having dinner with friends and family now, knowing that at some point, he will begin to hold court and the other diners will sit with glazed eyes, smothering their yawns and glancing at their watches. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but this problem is getting worse and I need some advice.

If you print this, perhaps he will see himself and realize that others need to be involved in conversations. Please help! -- DISTRESSED IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR DISTRESSED: If your husband hasn't picked up on the social cues (glazed eyes and glances at watches) regarding his monologues, please do not count on him "seeing himself" in a letter in my column and realizing that it relates to him.

After nearly 50 years, you are, to put it mildly, long overdue for a frank talk with your spouse. And when you do, work out a signal you can give him to tell him when enough is enough. I hope it helps. But he's a little old to be learning social sensitivity. You may have to keep living with it and count your blessings for his virtues.