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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Husband and father tired of being ignored at home

by Abigail Van Buren | September 3, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: I’ve been with my wife for 25 years, married for 22 of them. I love her very much, but sometimes I feel it isn’t mutual. We have three daughters, ranging in age from early teens to mid-20s. My wife also has an older son from a previous marriage.

For years I have felt like I’m the least important person in the world to her. The kids, work and friends come first. I understand that kids have needs, but I should get some attention occasionally. We will be in the middle of a conversation, and if one of them walks in, texts or calls, she stops midsentence and ignores me. Sometimes I talk to her, and she doesn’t even hear me if they are in the room. She and the kids joke about it, but I don’t think it’s funny.

I have worked hard to support them, 60-hour weeks and weekends to make ends meet, and I feel like I’m an afterthought to everyone. I spoil them on birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas. One year they all forgot my birthday. Am I overreacting? — Invisible Man In Pennsylvania

Dear Invisible: What has been going on under your roof is no laughing matter. But your passivity may be partly responsible for it. You should have told your wife years ago how you felt, but it isn’t too late to do it now. Tell her you feel ignored and unappreciated by her and the kids. Tell her you’re unhappy, and if she wants the marriage to last, she will join you in marital counseling because you are tired of being low man on the totem pole. I don’t think doing that would be overreacting. In fact, I think it’s overdue.

Dear Abby: Our daughter and her cousin are the same age. Both are medical school graduates. Eight months ago, when this cousin got married at an in-person wedding, he was showered with gifts from the family. My daughter, in contrast, had a private ceremony because of covid concerns and sent a wedding announcement to the family. To the shock of my husband, my daughter and myself, not a single person in the family sent her a gift or even a card.

There’s no bad blood in the family. Everyone appears to love her. She is disappointed and devastated. Should I get over this, or should I say something to the family? She and her husband live 2,000 miles away, and I can’t envision them making the effort to fly home and see family ever again. — Baffled In Texas

Dear Baffled: I don’t think anyone intended to give your daughter short shrift. The rules of etiquette state that wedding gifts are required if someone is attending a wedding. While it would have been nice of these relatives to have sent a gift or at least a card, they were not required to. I see no reason why you shouldn’t inform these relatives that your daughter was hurt that no one sent her and her husband so much as a congratulatory card.

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 P.O.Box 69440,Los Angeles, CA 90069 or visit


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