Dear Abby: I have been married for 18 years to a man I have a good relationship with. My problem is he has always been extremely rude to my parents. They aren’t critical or judgmental of him, and they try hard to be friendly and accommodating, perhaps thinking it might lessen the rudeness he continually shows them.
Example: If my mom asks him how his parents are doing, without looking up from his cellphone he’ll grunt and say, “They’re fine” — nothing more. When we go out to dinner, he usually doesn’t join in the conversation. Instead, he just sits there with a dismissive, bored look on his face.
I have told him I don’t want him to come with me when I visit them. It only takes a few times before he asks if he can come again and promises to try to behave. But after a few visits, he reverts back to his old, rude ways. It has reached a point that it’s affecting our marriage. Can you offer any suggestions for how this issue can be resolved?
Tired of it in Toronto
It would be helpful to know WHY your husband behaves this way. Does he dislike your folks? Does he have so little in common with them he doesn’t know how to participate in a conversation with them? Is he this way with any other people?
Perhaps it would be better for all concerned if he saw them with you less often, say, 30 percent to 50 percent of the time. And before he does, make sure he is up to the task of being social because, as it stands, I agree his behavior is rude.
He’s not a teenager with his nose buried in a cellphone; he’s an adult who should know better.