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Volunteering may save sanity
27 October 2004

Arizona: DEAR ABBY:

For 35 years, I have been married to the most manipulative, cunning, critical man ever born. "Homer" gets what he wants by using "helpful hints," offering "advice" and telling me "what's best," and sometimes even getting blue in the face and crying. He is very good at it, never quite overplaying his hand. He wears me down until I finally give in.

By using this technique, Homer has made sure that we live where he wants to live, vacation where he wants to go, drive the car he likes and have even decorated our home in his preferred colors.

During the first years of our marriage, I gave in because I loved him. Later, I did it to avoid an argument. Now I do it out of habit. I loathe Homer for making me a doormat, and I loathe myself for allowing it to happen.

Homer will be retiring after the first of the year with a very nice annuity. I have a small pension, but it's too small to live on my own. I don't know if I can bear Homer's company 24/7 but can I really start again at 65?

I have often thought of just packing up and leaving. Can you help? 

Sad in the South


Since you know you can't bear your husband's company 24/7, consider some alternatives. One solution might be to volunteer your time to a worthy cause.

The National Senior Service Corps specializes in placing older volunteers in volunteer assignments in their communities. Three national programs under the NSSC umbrella are the Foster Grandparent Program, the Senior Companion Program, and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

To find out what's available in your community, call 1-800-424-8867, or search online at:

Consider volunteering. It could serve a dual purpose and save your sanity.

Dear Abby is written by Jeanne Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069