DEAR ABBY: "Ingrid" and I have been dating for a couple of months. We're in our early 50s and both of us have been married before. We get along fine and our relationship is proceeding slowly, but appropriately.
My problem is, when we talk on the phone we don't really have a conversation. Ingrid will talk without interruption, sometimes for five minutes at a time. I can't get a word in. I can put the phone down and come back and she'll still be talking. It's not quite that bad in person, although she's still quite a talker. Often, she'll ask me a question, then interrupt me when I try to answer. It really bugs me.
It has reached a point that I don't want to talk to her on the phone. The calls can last 30 minutes or more, and I get bored and irritated. How do I address this with her without hurting her feelings or affecting our relationship? She's starting to feel my reluctance to call her back. -- GETTING AN EARFUL IN ARIZONA
DEAR GETTING AN EARFUL: If Ingrid is starting to feel your reluctance to return her calls, I'm guessing she has found a way to let you know. This is your opening for a truth session with your lady friend in which you explain how those phone monologues -- notice I didn't say "conversations" -- make you feel.
What she's doing is rude. The cause may be nervousness, thoughtlessness, or that she's a compulsive talker. If she cares about you, she will want to know if she's doing something that's making you back away. Being honest with her is the only way to get this fixed, if the problem is fixable. At your ages, lifelong habits may not be easy to break.