Dear Annie: My husband and I are retired. “Freddie” is quite helpful around the house repairing things, but he has no male friends he can hang out with, so he spends most of his time watching TV.
Whenever I try to start a conversation, he belittles me, makes fun of me and says I never accomplished anything, even though I worked a full-time job for decades while raising four children.
Everything has to go his way, and I must agree with him. Nothing I do is good enough.
Freddie has a very short fuse, and all of our conversations seem to end with an argument. I’m always walking on eggshells.
Of course, whenever we go out with my women friends, he is extremely attentive and pleasant to them. He even had the nerve to ask me which of my friends would be most suitable for him.
He likes to buy little things for my friends, yet pleads poverty when it’s time for my birthday.
I don’t think I can take any more. For my own sanity, it’s time for a change. What is your advice?
— Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: Some men, once they retire, become depressed and need to prove that they are still desirable and valued.
Freddie flirts with your friends because it boosts his ego. Belittling you makes him feel superior.
Try to get him active in organizations that will value his skills.
Check your local community center, church, YMCA, park district, hospitals and schools, and find out how Freddie can volunteer his services.