DEAR ABBY: We have been friends with "The Bickersons" for quite some time. They never have a kind word to say to each other. Mr. B. now has a terminal illness, and you would think they'd be kinder to each other at a time like this. On the contrary, their fights are more groundless and vicious than ever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be around them. This is when they need friends more than ever, but they're driving everyone away! What can we do? -- LOVE IS ALL WE NEED
DEAR LOVE: While you might imagine that when a spouse has a terminal illness it would bring the couple closer together, that is not always the case. Mr. B. may be frightened, angry, in pain and taking it out on his wife. Mrs. B. may be furious at her husband for being sick and dependent, and requiring her to have gone from being a wife to a caregiver. Also, they both may be settling old scores.
Because it's painful to watch what's going on but you want to be supportive, consider socializing with them separately. They may appreciate the time they get to spend away from each other.