DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have a friend, “Jonah,” whom we love dearly, but he has no filter. He’s college-educated, has a white-collar job and is over 50. The problem is, anytime we invite him for dinner or take food items to his house, he makes horrible remarks about my wife’s cooking, particularly when it’s a holiday party based on my wife’s Slavic heritage.
My wife is a really good cook. No one else makes fun of these foods, many of which are common in the U.S., but Jonah makes negative comments every time. I have told him that it’s rude, and so has my wife.
We would hate not inviting him to future parties with our usual crowd, but it gets me upset when he does this. My wife has actually prepared an alternative meal for him so he won’t have to eat the “heritage-style” food. He even makes snide comments when I bring foods popular in other parts of the U.S.
Abby, do we continue inviting him or not? It is straining our friendship. — In a Food Fight in New Hampshire
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DEAR IN A FOOD FIGHT: Because Jonah has indicated that he doesn’t like the food at your parties, stop inviting him. And because he doesn’t appreciate the effort when you bring regional food to his home, stop doing that, too.
If he asks why he wasn’t included, feel free to give him an “unfiltered” answer. If you visit him, bring a generic house gift, such as nuts, a box of candy, a bottle of wine. If he doesn’t accept it graciously, stop doing that, too.
With a “friend” like Jonah, it would be better to socialize at a restaurant that serves food he does like, or at an activity that doesn’t revolve around food. I am amazed that you have tolerated his behavior this long.
Beauty is inside
DEAR ABBY: My wife has gained a little weight and has become self-conscious about how she looks. I have told her she’s still beautiful. We haven’t been intimate in three months and I think it’s because she’s afraid I won’t like how different she looks without clothes.
I don’t know how to tell her that my love for her isn’t based on her physical beauty. It’s based on who she is as a person. THAT’S what is beautiful to me. Do you have any feedback for me? — Loving Her in Louisiana
DEAR LOVING HER: Before jumping to conclusions about why you and your wife haven’t been intimate, I think you should ask her directly. It may have nothing to do with her weight, and it could be something she should discuss with her gynecologist.
Of course, it never hurts to tell a woman that she’s beautiful because of who she is in your eyes and that she always will be. It’s a song we women never tire of hearing, and the chorus is always welcome music.
She wants more than help
DEAR ABBY: My husband helps with the kids and with the housework. But he never remembers holidays and special occasions. We have been married 15 years.
I have talked to him about how hurtful this is, but it never helps. I want him to think about me and put some effort into getting me something. My friends say, “How can you complain? He helps you do housework!” What do you think? — Wife of an Imperfect Husband
DEAR WIFE: If the problem is that your husband doesn’t know what to buy for you, offer some suggestions. If he simply can’t remember the date — and some spouses don’t — start “reminding” him a week in advance. If he still doesn’t “pop,” then appreciate the fact that you have a husband who tries every day to show you he loves you by making your life easier. Many women are not so lucky.