DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Laura," and I have been married 15 years. She recently had gastric bypass surgery and has lost 80 pounds so far.
The last time Laura was slim (about seven years ago), she had an affair with a co-worker and we nearly divorced. With her current weight loss, she is now going out with friends from work one night a week. This means that after all the activities we have scheduled for our kids, there is no night for us. I have had two weekends off in the last six weeks. During both of them Laura went to Las Vegas with her friends.
I'm pleased that my wife is happy with her looks, and I don't want to appear insecure, but I can't help but feel it's "deja vu all over again." When I ask where she's going, who she's going with and why now, she gets angry and says she won't put up with my "insecurities." We went to counseling after the affair, but Laura lied and denied she'd had one. I would really appreciate some advice. -- YO-YO HUSBAND IN LONG BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR YO-YO HUSBAND: Your wife may think it's an invasion of her privacy to be asked where she's going, when she'll be back and who she's spending her time with -- but that's the kind of accountability people sign up for when they have a spouse and children. Your insecurity is understandable in light of her past infidelity.
The fact that she'd rather go to Las Vegas for the weekend than spend some alone time with you sends a strong message. I think you already know your marriage is in trouble, so offer your wife the option of marriage counseling. If she refuses -- which wouldn't surprise me -- go without her. A licensed therapist will help you understand the dynamics of what's going on and help you reach some important conclusions about your future.
DEAR ABBY: It's apparent that the art of saying "thank you" has gone by the wayside. I'm a widow with limited funds who likes to surprise relatives with nice gifts on special occasions. I sent a food gift to one of them as a housewarming present. Her mother wrote and thanked me, but added that it gave her a stomachache and she was sick for three days!
I shopped carefully for a niece who was starting kindergarten. I selected a sweet "girly" backpack in her favorite color with butterflies and a smattering of sparkles. Her mom responded that I should have bought a bigger one with a metal frame so she could also use it for family outings, the beach, the zoo, etc. -- as if I knew which ones she liked THIS week.
I sent a classic silk blouse to a young woman who was starting her first office job. Her mother told me she would have preferred something more "youthful."
What is wrong with just saying "thank you"? -- IRRITATED AUNT IN MIAMI
DEAR IRRITATED AUNT: Nothing is wrong with it; in fact, "thank you" is the appropriate and gracious response. But what these mothers are really telling you is that they never taught their daughters one of the important social graces -- how to send a prompt and courteous acknowledgment for any gift they receive. They're also telling you that in the future, you should save your money.
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