Abby: Couple can’t agree on a continent to call home

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My husband recently retired from the military. We have four school-aged kids. The youngest is starting kindergarten, and I’d like to go back to work and finally use my college degree. My husband wants to take a job overseas, but I would likely be unable to work due to the language barrier.

I want to settle down in a location I love, doing a job I love. My husband worked hard to get this job and I hate to discourage him. I didn’t realize I would feel so strongly about settling down until very recently. I don’t want to move and he doesn’t want to give up this job.

He suggested we live separately. Our marriage is otherwise happy, and due to the military we have had a long-distance marriage many times before, just not for as long as this would be. Should I try moving overseas?

Wants To Settle Down

Dear Wants To Settle Down: Yes, for the sake of your marriage, I think you should. And when you’re there, explore finding a way to put the degree you worked so hard to attain to use. The experience of living in a foreign country would be good for your children, and you might enjoy the adventure yourself. If that’s not the case, you can always return to the U.S. and see if a bi-continental marriage works for you.

Dear Abby: I am writing this as I sit in a hospital at my daughter’s bedside. When staff comes into her room, she asks them to wash their hands in front of her before putting on their gloves. Several doctors took offense at this. We even posted a note on the door, asking the staff to wash up inside the room. Were we wrong? She doesn’t want to increase her risk of infection. I would think that a patient worried about proper hygiene would not be sneered at by the people trying to get her healthy.

Trying To Stay Healthy

Dear Trying To Stay Healthy: Bravo to you for speaking up! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital-acquired infections have cost the hospital industry $30 billion and resulted in 100,000 patient deaths. A 2013 New York Times article reported that unless pushed to do so, hospital workers wash their hands only as little as 30 percent of the time they interact with patients. The problem is so widespread that some hospitals must monitor workers via video cameras or have them wear electronic badges to “encourage” compliance, while others have resorted to “bribing” workers to do the right thing.

You were not wrong to ask staffers at your daughter’s hospital to wash their hands. Nobody should feel reluctant to ask for something that is standard procedure.

Because many patients in hospitals and care facilities feel vulnerable and dependent, they fear that staff will “dislike” them if they ask for too much. For patients to request handwashing is not only in their best interest, but also the hospital’s. Too often, change doesn’t happen in the medical profession until patients speak up and advocate for their own well-being. You would not have been “sneered at” if your request hadn’t made those individuals feel defensive.

Dear Abby: I’m a retired widow and former model. I have dated mostly men my own age and a little older. I was in a sexless (but affectionate) marriage for nearly 30 years, and I have looked forward to a robust sex life with a new love. But I’m finding that men who are intellectually matched to me are no longer interested in making love. If they are interested, they don’t seem to want a monogamous relationship. Any hints?

Starved For Affection

Dear Starved: Just this. Widen your dating profile to include younger men and you may find someone who is not only your intellectual match, but also can perform.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.