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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Was Given Permission To Take Wife For Granted

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 38 years. He doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs or chase women. He's a good guy. But ...

Twenty years ago we stopped giving each other gifts on all occasions because he didn't like shopping for me. I let him off the hook and said I didn't really mind. However, on his birthday I take him to his favorite seafood restaurant and bake him his favorite cake. My birthday gets forgotten.

There is a special dessert that I love that is found only at a bakery across town. I have told him for the past 10 years how much I'd love that dessert for my birthday. He has never once bought it for me. I feel it's like he's telling me I'm not worth the time or money. For such a small thing, it hurts my feelings a lot. Am I being silly? -- SLIGHTED IN INDIANA

DEAR SLIGHTED: You're not being silly. You were being silly when you told your husband 20 years ago that you didn't mind if he ignored your birthday and other special occasions, because it wasn't true (or perhaps the effect on you has been cumulative). So, open your mouth and tell your husband -- in plenty of time for your next birthday -- exactly what you want from him. If you don't, you'll get the same thing you have been getting, which is nothing.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce