The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - GAMES -

My hus­band and I are both 65: we’ve been mar­ried for 45 years. He’s never been a great talker, but now he hardly speaks to me at all! If I ask him some­thing, he usu­ally replies in as few words as pos­si­ble – he talks to our dog more than to me! If we’re with fam­ily or friends he’s quite chatty with them, but as soon as we leave it’s like he’s been switched off.

I’ve spo­ken to him about this but he doesn’t ad­dress it, he just mum­bles a few words.

We’ve got great chil­dren and grand­chil­dren who we see quite a lot, so should I be con­tent with that and re­sign my­self to lone­li­ness when it’s just us?


Dear Margaret

All right, you’ve not ex­actly been mar­ried to Mr Talk­a­tive for all these years, but you’ve been OK with that – un­til now. Be­cause this, ob­vi­ously, is dif­fer­ent. This is rude. (Ac­tu­ally, it’s worse than rude. We’ll come to that.)

The trou­ble is, you can’t force your hus­band to talk to you. You can’t whip out the thumb­screws ev­ery time you want a two-way with old Tac­i­turn Face. Even the po­lice ac­cept that every­one has the right to si­lence (“You are not obliged to say any­thing”, etc). Those mono­syl­labic mum­blings are your man’s ver­sion of “no com­ment”.

Yet you say he’s talk­a­tive with oth­ers (even the dog!) and re­serves the silent treat­ment for you alone. Hmm. That makes me won­der if he’s pun­ish­ing you for some­thing. His

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