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Dear Abby: My wife's crossword puzzle obsession turns ridiculous

A husband seeks advice as his wife's crossword puzzle obsession is causing her to ignore him and their family.

Dear Abby,

I have been happily married to my wife for a remarkable 30 years. However, since her recent retirement, her crossword hobby has transformed into an all-consuming obsession. It seems like she can't go a single moment without engaging in crossword puzzles. Whether we are watching TV, having conversations, or even enjoying meals together, she is always engrossed in her puzzles. Even when we go out, she carries them with her or does them on her phone, completely ignoring our surroundings and the people around her, including our own children.

During the recent holiday celebrations, instead of participating in family interactions and creating cherished memories, she sat there, fixated on her phone and crossword puzzles. It was disheartening to witness, and if she were my child, I would have taken away her phone without hesitation. However, as she is an adult and my wife, I am unable to do so. Prior to her retirement, we used to enjoy doing crossword puzzles together two or three times a week, and it was a source of joy and bonding for us. But now, I feel completely neglected and forgotten.

I have tried talking to her about my feelings, expressing how her obsession is affecting our relationship and family dynamics. Unfortunately, it didn't yield any positive results, leaving me at a loss for what to do next. That's why I am reaching out to you, Abby, in hopes of receiving some valuable advice and guidance.

Dear Puzzled Husband,

I understand your frustration and the sense of being ignored in your own marriage. It is important to have a heartfelt conversation with your wife once again, emphasizing that you can no longer tolerate being disregarded while she immerses herself in crossword puzzles. Explain to her that her behavior is not only unfair to you but also to the entire family. Suggest seeking the assistance of a licensed marriage and family therapist, as they can provide valuable insights and strategies for navigating this situation.

If your wife is unwilling to consider therapy, I encourage you to schedule some sessions for yourself. It is crucial to prioritize your own well-being and emotional health, especially when faced with the challenges your marriage is currently experiencing. From your description, it is evident that your relationship is in jeopardy, and your wife may be using her crossword puzzles as a means of escaping from the realities of life.

Remember, communication and understanding are key in any relationship. It is essential to find a balance that allows both partners to pursue their individual interests while also nurturing the bond between them. Seek professional help if necessary, as an unbiased third party can provide guidance and facilitate productive conversations.

Dear Abby is a column written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and it was originally founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. If you would like to reach out to Dear Abby, you can visit their website at or send a letter to P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Remember, open communication and seeking professional guidance can help navigate the challenges in your relationship, ultimately leading to a healthier and happier marriage.

[Your Name]

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