Dear Abby: Wife is shamed by husband's insistence on wearing tights


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our early 50s and married for nine years. I hate to say this, but the way he dresses embarrasses me to tears, and it's hurting our relationship.

Is it acceptable for a man to wear tights and nothing else? I'm not talking yoga pants; I mean ballerina dancer sheer tights that leave NOTHING to the imagination. He mainly wears them in our garage (where people who drive by can see), but lately I've caught him standing talking to neighbors like that. Am I overreacting by telling him he can't wear things like that outside the house? If it isn't the tights, it's skin-tight biker-type shorts or shorts made from a mesh material that shows it ALL if there's a light source behind him.

We have gone rounds over this almost daily. He promises he will stop, but it's only a matter of hours before he's back in costume. Is it OK to wear things like that now? I don't see women wearing tights that show off as much as his do. I'm at the point I want to gather up all offending clothing and head to the dumpster. If you say let him wear what he wants, I will, and I will keep my eyes and mouth shut. - MORTIFIED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR MORTIFIED: Your husband appears to be an exhibitionist who cannot control his urges. Frankly, I am surprised the neighbors haven't complained after seeing him in that attire. Ordinarily, I would advise you to let your husband wear what he wants, but in a case like this, it might be prudent to check what the ordinances regarding indecent exposure are in your community.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a woman in my mid-40s and have been with my husband for almost 20 years. I have never wanted children. I'm 100% certain about that and have been since I was a kid myself. In fact, I had my tubes tied when I turned 30.

For me, the no-children rule is nonnegotiable. My husband knew this going into our marriage and was fine with it, but in the past few years he has been expressing an increasingly strong desire for a child.

He has now taken to shaming me, saying things like he's depressed, that he'll never be happy "unless I give him what he wants" or that I'd do it "if I truly loved him." He always apologizes later, saying he loves me and wants things to work out. But, Abby, it's becoming increasingly difficult to shake what he has said in the heat of the moment.

I cannot compromise on this. I know bringing a child into the mix would only make things worse and foster resentment all around - toward my husband, toward the unwanted child and toward myself - which wouldn't be fair to anyone. It seems we have reached an impasse. I want this marriage because there are wonderful times, too, but I can't continue being hurt like this. I don't know what to do. - BROKEN IN MICHIGAN

DEAR BROKEN: You and your husband have indeed reached an impasse. Although he agreed at the outset that your marriage would be one without children, he is now facing his biological imperative and can no longer live with the deal he made.

Because you don't want children and because of your age, if he needs them, he may have to do it with someone else. I am sorry if this seems brutal, but there is no compromise in a situation like yours. Please accept my sympathy.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

photo Jeanne Phillips

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