DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with the same man for 15 years. For the last six, we have been living together. He's a machinist who owns his own business and works strict hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Sometimes he locks his doors at 5 and works an hour or two later, but he doesn't call to let me know he is working late. I have told him calling is common courtesy. Sometimes he does it, but more often he does not. He thinks it's "ridiculous" that I would wonder where he is, and if I want to know, I can call his shop.
Last Saturday morning he was up at 6 a.m. and told me he needed to drive 100 miles north of here to look at a "project" for a customer to see if he can fix it. When I asked what the project was, he said he didn't know. This guy is someone he has recently started a friendship with. It seemed odd that he wouldn't let me go along for the ride. He said he'd have his phone on him, and I could call anytime to see where he was.
When I didn't hear from him all day, I started calling around 7 p.m. and three times after that, but he didn't pick up. He pulled back into our driveway around 10 p.m. and told me he was helping the guy move cows, and he would have called me on the way home but his phone died.
I'm upset. He had dinner with them, and they have a landline he could have used. I told him how hurt I was and that I feel disrespected. He says he deserved a day to himself. He thinks I'm being ridiculous. Am I? Do I not deserve a phone call? — WAITING AND WAITING IN MONTANA
DEAR WAITING: You are not ridiculous. It was thoughtless of him not to call, but you said it doesn't happen all the time. You are his lady friend, not his keeper. If he needs a day to himself, it might benefit your relationship to cut him some slack. And when it happens again, schedule something fun for yourself so you aren't sitting by the phone.
DEAR ABBY: Our family and extended family are all highly educated individuals with advanced degrees. My son's wife didn't go to college, and while she is genuinely nice, she butchers the English language.
My granddaughter will be learning to talk soon, and I wonder what's the best way to approach the situation. I don't want to offend my daughter-in-law, but I also don't want my granddaughter learning improper grammar. What are your suggestions on how to handle this problem? — UNSURE ON THE WEST COAST
DEAR UNSURE: Because your family and extended family are well-educated and hold advanced degrees, the more time your grandchild spends with all of you, the better her chances of learning proper grammar. Do not talk "baby talk" with her. Read to her and give her books as gifts. If her mother reads them to her daughter, they both may have a better chance of learning good grammar. Being around her well-educated father will also help, and once she's in school, it will be reinforced.
The only thing you should NOT do is say anything that will make your son's wife self-conscious about her upbringing because if you do, you may be seeing a lot less of that little family.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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