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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Dinner Time Is Bedtime for His Sleepy Wife

DEAR ABBY: My hardworking husband of four years, "Brian," loves to eat out three or four nights a week. It's nice not to have to cook, and I have become spoiled. He loves treating. We take along friends, family members or business associates.

The problem is, Brian wants to sit for two or three hours, have drinks and talk before he eats. He insists that I wait until he is ready to eat. Sometimes it becomes as late as 10 p.m.

I have a sensitive stomach and I need to eat early. I have eaten dinner early my entire life. If I eat late, my stomach goes into knots, and by the time we get home it's time for bed because I'm sleepy. Brian can sleep on a full stomach with no problem. I get acid reflux.

Brian expects our guests to adhere to his routine. Even when we have cookouts, everyone must wait for the entree. He says, "Well, they'll just have to wait. I don't want anyone to eat and run."

I put out appetizers, but it's not enough to hold them. If we don't wait, he gets angry and threatens not to have another cookout. I have explained that not everyone can eat so late.

Abby, what's your perspective on this? Who's right here? -- HUNGRY IN ARIZONA

DEAR HUNGRY: You are. It appears you married a hardworking, self-centered drinker with a need to control everyone around him. A generous host takes the needs and wishes of his guests into consideration. A selfish one behaves like your husband does. Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone who didn't have to would accept more than two dinner or cookout invitations.

You should eat something before going to dinner with him and do the same at home whenever you need to. If you don't, it could have a serious, negative impact on your health.

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago I made a horrible mistake. I broke the law and was convicted of three misdemeanors. I live in a small town, so the news became very public. I lost my job, many friends and my reputation.

I am still working to rebuild my life and find some sense of normalcy for myself and my family. I have been in therapy since the event and have learned a lot from this experience.

My problem is, my brother will not forgive me. He holds it over my head and refuses to support me in my efforts. He said I deserve whatever I get. I love my brother and am close to my other siblings. I don't want our relationship to be estranged, but I can't take his judgmental attitude anymore. What can I do? -- SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SIB

DEAR SIB: Because you are in therapy, discuss this with your therapist. I assume that having been convicted, you have paid -- or are repaying -- your debt to society. You are working to rebuild your life; you are doing all you can right now to get back on track. You are close with your other siblings, so work with that. Do not measure your worth through your brother's eyes. He may not be capable of forgiveness. And if that's the case, it's a reflection of who he is -- not who you are.

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