DEAR ABBY: My father's behavior has been very peculiar lately. He and Mom have been married for 45 years. Of course, all marriages go through ups and downs. They have had their share of health problems. Both are doing OK but are dealing with some medical issues.
Because of my father's actions, I'm afraid for my mother's emotional state. He stays gone for long periods of time throughout the day and sometimes stays out until the early morning of the next day. She always stays up until he gets home. When she calls or texts him, at times he doesn't respond. I've also called or texted him while he was out. When I tried talking to him, he said he doesn't have to explain himself. He's not the best at staying on track when it comes to taking care of himself. It's like he is living another life.
I'm not sure what's going on between my parents. I just know I don't like to see Mom treated this way because it's disrespectful, and I can see she's hurting. My relationship with my father is suffering because of this. I asked him to come to family counseling with me, my siblings and mother. He refuses. I'm praying about this. I just don't know what else we can do. Please help. -- PERPLEXED DAUGHTER
DEAR DAUGHTER: You cannot force your father into family counseling, but you and your siblings can continue to give your mother emotional support during this difficult time, and that's what I urge you to do. I don't know what your father is up to and neither do you. But if it becomes necessary, a private detective can fill you in, I'm sure.
DEAR ABBY: I am in a loving and rewarding marriage. Because we have no children, my husband and I are best friends who devote most of our time to each other. My issue is with some of his habits.
He is kind of clumsy, and this has resulted in the destruction of many things in our home -- our carpet (spills that can't be cleaned), coffee table (discolored from spilling a caustic material) and sofa (spilled wax and cigar burns). I know he doesn't do this intentionally, but nonetheless, it makes me irate. And it is constant. He apologizes for it, yet it occurs repeatedly.
Is there anything I can do to change this, or must I accept the incremental destruction of my home? And if that's the case, what can I tell myself to make me less angry about it? -- MRS. DESTRUCTO IN BALTIMORE
DEAR MRS. DESTRUCTO: A certain amount of wear and tear is normal. But your husband may be one of those people -- many people are -- who "lives" on the sofa. Much of your problem might be eliminated if you made sure that snacks are consumed in the kitchen and no beverages more colorful than water are enjoyed in front of the television. If that's not feasible, consider durable, stain-resistant fabrics when you re-cover your sofa.
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