DEAR ABBY: I have a good friend, "Nina," whom I have known more than 35 years. I relocated 1,500 miles from her recently, and would like to invite her to visit me. The problem is, I want her to come alone. My husband and I have no desire to entertain her husband, "Sam."
Sam is a verbally abusive know-it-all on every subject who monopolizes every conversation, allowing no one else to get a word in. The few times we went out together as a foursome, my husband came home with a pounding headache.
How do I tell Nina I would love for her to come, but to leave Sam home? I don't want to hurt her feelings, but we will no longer tolerate his self-centered personality nor the way he treats my friend.
P.S. None of Sam's family will invite him to stay for the same reason. -- NO ROOM AT THE INN IN MISSOURI
DEAR NO ROOM: Try this: Invite Nina for a "girls' visit" -- perhaps to shop, spend a day at a spa, or just put her feet up and gossip. List whatever mutual interests you have that you can think of that would bore Sam to death. Also, try to invite her at a time when your husband might be away -- so there isn't the expectation that Sam "should" be included. If the situation is as you describe with Sam's family, he's used to it.