Morning Sun

When going gets tough, husband locks the door

- Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY » When my husband and I fight, which isn’t really that often, he shuts himself away for several days. He locks the door to his office or the guest room and won’t come out. I try to give him time to cool off, but sometimes it’s awkward. He wouldn’t talk to me at all for several days while his whole family was here celebratin­g his grandma’s 90th birthday.

He’s mad again. I apologized by text since he wouldn’t talk to me, but our kids — ages 6 and 8 — are going to wonder why Daddy isn’t with us. Should I skip a planned event and give him more time to cool off or try to approach him?

— Waiting for Him in Georgia

DEAR WAITING » Skip the planned event, and when your passive-aggressive husband comes out of hiding, INSIST the two of you get marriage counseling to resolve your difference­s. What he has been doing isn’t healthy for your marriage. Dealing with conflict by hiding and using the silent treatment to punish one’s spouse sets a poor example for your children, who are old enough to recognize that something is wrong between Daddy and Mommy. If he won’t do it for the sake of your marriage, he should do it for the emotional health of those kids.

DEAR ABBY » I will be meeting an old high school friend for lunch. We are now in our 50s. I heard through the grapevine that she never had children. I am unsure what to say when the subject of children comes up, as it invariably will. “I’m sorry” may not be appropriat­e because perhaps she never wanted any. “Wow” or “interestin­g” may sound a bit odd.

In a similar vein, what does one say to someone when they share that they are divorced? I recall a woman I met telling me she was divorced. I said, “I’m sorry,” and she replied, “I’m not!” What’s an appropriat­e response for when these situations happen? I don’t want to appear unsympathe­tic, but perhaps they don’t want sympathy.

— Sympatheti­c in Florida

DEAR SYMPATHETI­C » You may have hit on something. The birthrate in the United States is at an all-time low because many women have chosen to forgo motherhood. If someone tells you she doesn’t have children, all you have to say is “Oh,” and change the subject. You should not interrogat­e the person further. As for the subject of divorce, sometimes dissolutio­n of a marriage is therapeuti­c. Do not ask for — or expect — more details. Show an interest in what your old friend is doing NOW and move on from there.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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