DEAR ABBY: A large portion of conversation in our home has been replaced with the time my wife spends on her cellphone. Not that she is talking on it. It's games and Facebook that absorb hours of her time.
We used to spend evenings working on special projects together, but that is the exception now and no longer the rule. If I ask a question or make a comment, she answers, but we sit mostly in silence.
Must I accept this as the new norm that seems to have swept up everyone and wait for her to tire of this activity? I have gently mentioned my dismay, but when I did she became defensive and said it is her time. Do you have any advice on how to cope with this? -- MATTERING LESS IN MISSOURI
DEAR MATTERING: Facebook and gaming can be so absorbing that when members sign on for "just a minute," the next thing they know, two hours have flown by. I say this because it has happened to me.
Discuss this again with your wife, and this time tell her you miss the closeness you had when the two of you could share activities and that you are lonely. If she doesn't realize that it is a red flag, the two of you may need professional mediation to reach a compromise, such as a scheduled date night.
If that doesn't satisfy you, look for projects or hobbies you can share with other people with similar interests. You are not alone in having this problem. Taking evening classes might solve it in the short term.