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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married more than 20 years. Once in a while, he'll stop being affectionate and ceases talking to me. Obviously, he is upset. He holds it together for our children, but I get the serious cold shoulder.

He won't tell me why he is unhappy. He simply expects me to give him "space." This is difficult because I assume it's something I have done, and I want to make it right. After several days, he'll start coming around and talking to me again, and he expects me to jump right back into our usual behavior. But by this time I feel abandoned and resentful.

It generally takes me some time to warm back up to him, which doesn't make him very happy since he doesn't see anything wrong with his needing space. I realize that's true, but should I be expected to put aside my hurt feelings overnight? How can I deal with these difficult days so I won't feel so alone and get upset with him? And what should I do when he expects me to bounce right back? -- TIED IN KNOTS IN TEXAS

DEAR TIED IN KNOTS: You're in a long marriage. Has your husband always behaved this way? Talk to him about it at a time when he's himself and not in one of his silent phases.

As you should be aware by now, not all men are good at expressing their feelings. Rather than become upset with him, ask if he is upset with you. If the answer is no, believe him and give him his space. It would be considerate (and mature) of him, however, to warn you when he's upset about something that has nothing to do with you, without prompting.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce

Widow With Love to Give Seeks Kids Who Need a Hug

DEAR ABBY: Is there an organization that matches seniors who would love to be grandmothers with families that need grandparents for their child/children?

I'm a 70-year-old recent widow who has no grandchildren to love, take places, play games with or just be with. I would think in every city there are children with no seniors in their lives, seniors who could make great grandparents. It would be a win-win for both the child and the senior. It could also be a blessing for a single mother or father to have someone to help out with emergency child care or just have some extra "family" in their hometown. -- UNFULFILLED GRANDMA IN MINNESOTA

DEAR UNFULFILLED: Unless the parents get to know you well, it isn't likely they would entrust their children to your care. However, this doesn't mean you cannot volunteer your time to help children in need. One organization is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (bbbs.org), which offers opportunities to mentor. Another that might appeal to you is Foster Grandparents, which is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

You could also call the hospitals in your area and ask if they need someone to come in on a regular basis to hold and rock premature infants and newborns. If you contact CASA for Children (casaforchildren.org), you could become a court-appointed advocate for abused and neglected children and teens, which may provide the emotional satisfaction you need and fill the void you are feeling.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

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