DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-something female personnel recruiter. I have worked for the same company for many years. Once or twice a year, our employers host a party for all employees and their spouses. I love going because it gives me a chance to get to know the wives of the men I work with.
The problem is my husband, "Brad," hates going to these events. Brad claims he has nothing in common with my fellow employees -- or their spouses -- and doesn't feel comfortable mingling. I say he should be able to find something to talk about with someone. He has accompanied me for umpteen years and happens to be in the same profession as a number of the spouses. And then there's always sports -- that's a subject he could talk about in his sleep.
When Brad has gone with me in the past, he has always complained afterward that I didn't pay enough attention to him and that he felt awkward being left alone. I do circulate, but always try to introduce Brad around and bring him into the conversation with people he's meeting for the first time.
This year, he's insisting I go alone, and I'm very disappointed. I would hate to have to lie to my employers and co-workers as to why I'm there solo, but I could never tell them the truth about why Brad didn't want to come.
What irks me is that I'm willing to go with him to his work parties, even if I feel uncomfortable and just stand around with a frozen smile on my face. At least I'm there for my husband. So why can't Brad do the same for me, Abby? Am I wrong to push this issue -- or should I throw in the towel and go without him? -- TROUBLED WIFE IN RIVERHEAD, N.Y.
DEAR TROUBLED WIFE: Your husband has "done the same for you" and it hasn't worked out. He's miserable. Out of the kindness of your heart, go solo this year. I'm sure he'll be grateful. If you are asked about his absence, tell your co-workers that "Brad has other plans." You don't have to say his plans include watching TV in his pajamas. And if anyone asks to be remembered to your husband -- relay the message. Perhaps if he knows someone missed him, he'll feel more comfortable attending next year.