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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Has Trouble Staying in the Moment at Mealtime

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I eat a meal, as soon as he's finished he gets up and wanders around. We call that the "wandering" phase of his meal. I have asked him to no avail to stay seated and talk with me. I think it is disrespectful.

My husband also pulls out his phone when we are out with friends. I have told him that what he's doing is basically telling them he would rather see what's on his phone than converse with them. He doesn't do it for the entire meal, but when he does, it irritates me. How can I get basic manners across to him? -- LONELY AT MEALTIME

DEAR LONELY: I knew a person years ago who had an impulse control problem similar to the one you describe your husband having. The man had been in an auto accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. In your husband's case, it appears he either has attention deficit disorder or "suffers" from a lack of consideration for your feelings. There is help for the former, but you can't teach basic manners to someone who doesn't want to learn. You have my sympathy. Try not to let it give you heartburn.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Marriage & Divorce