DEAR ABBY: I am writing this with overwhelming sadness. My 75-year-old husband is a tyrant. Our neighbors hate him, and so do our children. He is an overbearing, impetuous child.
I cry every day. I can't talk to him without him yelling. I am a subservient person. How do I go on with this? He is very healthy. I try so hard, and I have no life. He says mean things to me all the time. Please give me some advice. -- FLOUNDERING IN FLORIDA
DEAR FLOUNDERING: Please start asking yourself why you think you deserve the verbal abuse you receive from your husband and why you tolerate his bullying. Were you raised this way? What message has it sent to your children? Then remind yourself that we have only one life to live. Is this how you intend to spend it until the day you die or he does?
Gather all the information you can regarding your husband's (and your) finances. Once you have that information, contact a lawyer who specializes in family law. I can't change your husband and neither can you. But you can change the way you react to his verbal abuse by refusing to tolerate it any longer.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are retired and fortunate to travel often throughout the year. We prefer to stay in homes either through a home exchange or home rental by owner.
The change in scenery unfailingly increases her libido, and she often tries to initiate lovemaking at bedtime. I have told her I'm not comfortable having sex in another couple's bed. I feel it's disrespectful of their space and violates the trust the owners place in us by letting us use their house. She views it as the same as a hotel room since we pay to rent the house. Are there generally accepted practices regarding this? -- ABLE BUT NOT WILLING
DEAR ABLE: The generally accepted practice is to leave the property in the pristine condition in which you found it. This does not mean you and your wife must live a monklike existence while you are there, and I'm sure no one would expect you to.
DEAR ABBY: My friends are getting married, and I am excited for them. I was there for their engagement and helped set it up for him. I consider them both my best friends. They mean the world to me.
My issue is, they had an engagement party, invited all her girlfriends and asked them to be bridesmaids. I wasn't asked to be in the wedding or even invited to the party. I'm trying not to be hurt by it because I understand it is their day, but it makes me feel I'm not as important as I thought I was to them. What do I do? -- LEFT-OUT BEST FRIEND
DEAR LEFT OUT: This has to have been a painful wake-up call, and for that you have my sympathy. Best friends are not treated the way you were. What you do now is recognize that the time has come to reorganize your "friends" list, downgrade the two of them to the "acquaintances" category and broaden your social circle.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)