DEAR ABBY: I have been married 30 years to a man who is in his 60s. He is now retired and has too much time on his hands. When we married, he made it clear he liked his "space," often leaving home without saying goodbye or telling me where he was going.
He said he didn't need to explain his whereabouts, which was very difficult to deal with, but over time and many tears later, I learned to live with it. Later on, he accepted a high-paying job that took him away from our family for long periods. We would see each other on weekends or during school vacations. Over the years I have learned to entertain myself without intruding on his "space" or complaining when he was away for long periods.
Now that he isn't working and I am still working, he doesn't get my attention when he wants it. He says he feels ignored or unloved because I have continued to entertain myself by reading, playing bridge with my women friends, or occasionally working on weekends. My colleagues laugh at me when they hear me call my husband from work to ask if it's OK if I meet a client on the weekend. Sometimes I resent doing it, but it does keep the peace.
Meanwhile, my husband watches every sporting event on television, pouting or sulking when I don't join him.
Abby, I love this man, but now that he is home, he wants me to be constantly available. Is there a solution? -- BORED IN LOS ANGELES
DEAR BORED: For a man who wanted his "space," your husband appears to have become very dependent. It's flattering that he wants you by his side, but you are in danger of being smothered.
Remind him that when he married you, he demanded and was given his "space," and now you need yours. Encourage him to become physically active and to get involved with groups where his talents are needed. I'm sure there are many.