Thursday, April 24, 2014

Empty Nester Fears What Future With Rude Husband Will Bring

Dear Tazi:

My husband is a very rude person. He has been like this for almost our whole married life, and I sometimes wonder why I stay him until I remind myself of his good qualities – he is a wonderful parent and a good provider; and he is never rude to me, only to people outside of our family.

If we go out to a restaurant, the service is never good enough and “Harry” will be rude to the server, to the point where he has made several waitresses cry (this is why there are several restaurants at which he is no longer welcome). When watching a sporting event Harry cheers for the fouls; unsportsmanlike conduct; and injuries, claiming that for what the players are paid they should suffer injuries. I will no longer attend live sporting events with Harry because of this behavior.

There are few couples that Harry and I remain friends with because his rude behavior knows no bounds; Harry finds entertainment in the misery of others, especially those who he considers born under a lucky star. Having lived with this my whole marriage, you are probably wondering why I am only now complaining about it, right? The problem is our youngest is flying the nest and from now going forward it will be just Harry and me at home; with few friends to socialize with, no school events to attend, PTA meetings or other events that revolved around the children, I am afraid that Harry’s attitude is going to send me over the edge. I live in a pretty small town, so there are no museums to visit or other cultural events that would get me out of the house, and I haven’t worked in years – plus, since I do not need the income I would feel guilty if I were taking a paying job from someone who needed it. Do you have any suggestions on what to do with my time?

Empty Nester

Dear Empty Nester:

You say that Harry is “never” rude to you, only to people outside of your family. If this is true, why are you so afraid to be spending more time with him? Could it be that Harry has not been rude to you in the past because you had an escape outlet – your involvements in your children’s lives – should his attitude hit a little too close to home? Otherwise, why dread being alone with him now that the children are grown and on their own?

It appears to me that you have done what many a good parent has done – immersed yourself so deeply in your children’s lives that you left no room for interests of your own or interests as a couple. Your husband’s enjoyment of hurtful behavior could be his way of releasing his feelings of anger and neglect; if you spent your life paying more attention to the children than to him, I can see why resentment would build. Your husband could just be a jerk; but I will give him the benefit of the doubt, having never met him.

Now that your children are grown and moved out, why not try to rekindle the relationship between you and Harry. Let your husband know that, now that it’s just the two of you, you would like to explore new interests as a couple. I realize that your town is a small one, but there must be a library or other cultural centers that offer regular events. The two of you could join a book discussion club, a community gardening club, or do some volunteering at a local hospital or nursing home. If you miss having children in your life you could sign up through Big Brothers/Big Sisters to be a surrogate grandparent. If Harry is retired or has free time on the weekends, you could plan day trips to places of interest to the both of you. If Harry’s attitude does not improve with increased attention from you, try exploring new opportunities and interests on your own; it’s a great way to fight boredom and make new friends – ones that Harry cannot chase off since he will not be around to insult them.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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