Dear Abby | Retired man gives his own generation the silent treatment
Dear Abby: My husband, who is retired, now prefers to talk exclusively to people under 21. He says he is “mentoring” them, though I haven’t seen any indication of this.
He says he has no interest in talking to people our age, so when we get together with our friends, who are mostly our age, he says practically nothing. When I asked why, he said he prefers to impart his knowledge to younger people. I have suggested that he volunteer with younger people, but he wasn’t interested – he just wants to hang out with them.
I’m not sure what to do. He seems depressed if they don’t respond to him in the way he would like. Mostly they show little interest in being with him. What, if anything, should I do about this? – Concerned in the Midwest
Dear Concerned: I feel sorry for your husband. He may avoid companions his own age because they remind him that he, too, is getting older. It’s no wonder young people don’t respond to him. I can imagine few pastimes less appetizing than socializing with someone who “imparts knowledge” by talking down to them. They might find him more appealing if he asked them questions and listened to what they had to say.
Dear Abby: Our goddaughter “Justine” is in community college and planning to transfer to a four-year college next semester. I was told recently that she’s been trying to convince her boyfriend to get a place together. Justine’s parents would prefer she remain at home, but won’t fight her if she moves in with her boyfriend. I’m pretty sure they’ll continue to fund her education as best they can until she graduates.
We have been contributing financially toward our goddaughter’s education. My husband and I feel that it’s a waste of money just so they can “play house.” I’m afraid if I let her know how I feel, it will strain our relationship – perhaps even the one we have with her parents. Should this be my concern or should I let it go? – Her Godmother
Dear Godmother: It’s time for an honest conversation with your goddaughter, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you included her parents. Explain that you would be uncomfortable subsidizing her if she lives with her boyfriend.