DEAR ABBY: I must disagree with your advice to "Miserable in Indiana" to improve her self-esteem, get into shape and seek counseling for her irrational jealousy. Abby, here's a woman whose husband is suddenly going to work early, paying more attention to his appearance, ignoring his wife's requests for more attention and better sex, and offering no explanation for his sudden change in routine. She has every reason to be suspicious.
If he isn't having an affair, he most certainly is flirting with the notion. Being a good father and a monetary provider doesn't mean that he is "taking care of business" at home.
You missed the boat, Abby. Her accusations aren't "pushing him away." He has already left. -- BEEN THERE IN L.A.
DEAR BEEN THERE: How damning you make the "evidence" appear. Read on for another view:
DEAR ABBY: In your reply to the woman who was worried about her husband going to work early and dressing well for a factory job, you missed one possible explanation.
He may be trying for a promotion! If he's the type of person who would want to keep his quest a secret until he had results, that could explain his change in behavior and his unwillingness to talk about it. -- J.H. IN BATAVIA, ILL.
DEAR J.H.: You're right; that's a possibility I didn't consider. It's also possible that the man may have been "counseled" on the job about sloppy appearance or body odor -- and that's why he is making a special effort to shape up.
The wife stated that her self-esteem is "on the low side," that she has gained weight and she's "feeling old." Therefore, I urged her to have a medical checkup, get back into shape, and seek joint counseling to help her overcome her jealousy -- and perhaps improve their sex life. Surely that's a more positive direction to take than saying, "Lookin' good for her, huh?" daily as her husband leaves for work. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Miserable" said her husband brought home a steady paycheck and was raising her three sons by other marriages.
I, too, am harassed by a jealous wife. Unfortunately, her jealousy extends into my relationship with family and friends.
Like "Miserable," my wife would probably say our sex life is "so-so" (or even worse). She also told me our infrequent sex makes her feel fat, old and unattractive.
However, her physical appearance has nothing to do with her lack of appeal. It's the constant jealousy and lack of trust that pushes me away. Her compulsion to ensure that I have no relationship with anyone but her has tainted our marriage. I wish she understood that trust in me would be the best cure for a sour relationship.
I need interaction with others so I can better my relationship with her. How can I make her understand that this marriage will dissolve if she doesn't change her attitude? -- TRAPPED AND UNHAPPY IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR TRAPPED AND UNHAPPY: A good relationship is built on love, trust and commitment. Without those ingredients, no marriage can survive. Jealous people are generally insecure. They attribute great power to others because they feel powerless themselves. Your wife would benefit from therapy to understand and overcome those feelings -- but she'll need your help to achieve success.