DEAR ABBY: My husband is insecure. I do what I can to make him feel loved, but he has a habit that drives me crazy. Many times over the course of a day he'll say, "I love you." He does this especially if there is any hint of disagreement.
At first I thought it was sweet, but after many years of marriage, I now understand that he just uses the words to get me to say it back to reassure him. Sometimes I do, but if I don't, he becomes increasingly distressed.
Should I just give him what he wants? It makes me feel like a puppet. -- TOO MUCH "LOVE"
DEAR TOO MUCH: Instead of "giving him what he wants," have you tried calmly calling him on it? Try this: "John, you know I love you. You hear it many times over the course of a day. But I find it, frankly, annoying that when we disagree about something, you tell me you love me and become increasingly distressed if I don't feel like saying it back at that moment. So, let it go for now."
Your husband needs to hear you say it -- almost as much as you need to get this off your chest.