DEAR ABBY: My wife recently came back from a gold/silver/coin merchandiser event and told me she had sold an old U.S. $5 gold piece (for probably less than it was worth). I was hurt, not only because I have a coin collection and would have been interested in knowing about and seeing the coin, but also because she didn't seem to understand how disappointed and hurt I was. She gleefully announced she was going to use the proceeds to purchase an exercise bike.
I took a two-hour walk to work off my feelings and then skipped dinner because I had lost my appetite. Sometimes I feel that my feelings don't matter to her — that it's "her way or the highway." Should I let this incident go and move on, or is a long "crucial conversation" called for? — DISCOUNTED IN OHIO
DEAR DISCOUNTED: Of course you should discuss this with your wife. That coin was only a thing. The fact that the coin was sold without first consulting you is less important than your statement that sometimes you think your feelings don't matter to her.
A key factor in successful marriages is the ability to discuss difficult subjects calmly. Your ability to relate to each other appears to need improvement. If you cannot work this out between the two of you, a licensed therapist may be able to help.
DEAR ABBY: I recently married a wonderful lady who has three adult children. Her kids are great, but they have one habit that kind of bothers me. They address their mother by her first name, never as Mom or Mother. I feel it shows a lack of respect. I have thought about saying something to them about it, but I don't want to make a big deal out of it. What do you think? — MR. TRADITIONAL IN MISSOURI
DEAR MR. T.: I'm glad you have resisted the urge to render a judgment upon the way your wife's children address her — and probably have since they were quite young. People show respect for each other in the way they treat each other. What they call each other is their own business. If your wife is happy and has a good relationship with her children, keep your opinion to yourself.
DEAR ABBY: I was at the zoo with my daughter enjoying an ice cream cone. At the next table over, a man was berating his daughter, yelling at her for saying no to his girlfriend. He said things like, "I'm going to bust your butt so hard you won't sit for a week," and he kept glaring at her like she was the worst creature on the planet. It was hard to sit there watching a dad verbally and emotionally abuse an innocent 4-year-old. Is there anything I could have done? — HELPLESS IN UTAH
DEAR HELPLESS: You might have attempted to distract the father by saying something to him to the effect that parenting can be frustrating at times, which might have interrupted his rant. But beyond that there was nothing you could do to intervene. What a shame. Berating and threatening his little girl won't cause her to like or accept the girlfriend. Quite the opposite, in fact.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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