DEAR ABBY: I have the same problem as "Troubled Wife in Riverhead, N.Y." whose husband refuses to attend work-related social functions with her because he doesn't feel comfortable mingling.
My solution is to find a co-worker who might not have a "date" either and go with him or her. I have found that, especially with people who have recently become single and are tentative about facing social functions alone, it is a welcomed invitation. Should anyone ask why my husband is absent, I simply say, "'Betty' and I decided to make it a girls' night out" and leave it at that. -- SOLVED MY SOCIAL DILEMMA, EASLEY, S.C.
DEAR SOLVED: Way to go! An added bonus is that you don't have to worry about entertaining your companion, because he or she already knows everyone. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I agreed a long time ago that there would be things we would do solo in our married lives. We do not attend work functions together. It saves me from having to worry whether he is enjoying himself, and I can fully enjoy conversations about work or work-related topics without feeling guilty that he's not involved, bored or uncomfortable. My husband is fun to be with. I am ever-so-proud to be with him -- just not every minute. -- SUE IN ALDEN, N.Y.
DEAR SUE: I'm pleased you found a solution that works for both of you. However, not everyone is as self-assured as you.