Dear Abby: My husband, “John,” recently returned from his fourth Middle East tour after having been gone for a year. As soon as he got back, his mother invited him and his two sisters on a vacation cruise for a week.

He said yes, and they’ll be leaving in a couple of weeks. The downside is — no spouses allowed.

John and I are in our mid-40s. We have been married 25 years. I feel slighted, left out and, frankly, disrespected.

I’m not sure how to bring this up to him or to his mom. I don’t want to cause my husband, who is currently going through a difficult reintegration process, any stress. And I don’t want to cause drama with his mother, who will regard my speaking up as an offense to her gesture for her children.

Please help. Do I just keep my hurting mouth shut?

Hurting In The Midwest

Dear Hurting: Because your husband is having a difficult time reintegrating, I do think you should keep your mouth closed. The reason you and the other spouses weren’t invited may have been the cost involved. If it wasn’t, then Mama may have wanted her “brood” around her and no one else.

You say you and your husband have been married 25 years. That would make you a military wife. By definition, military wives are resilient and independent. If you feel you will be at loose ends while your husband is with his mother and siblings, I suggest you and the other “excluded spouses” plan some activities together to pass the time. If you all like each other, you could have a ball.

Later, when the time is right, you and your husband could plan a private getaway just for the two of you.

Dear Abby: I’m 30, married and the only female analyst in an office with 12 men. I love my job and I enjoy working here, but it is very hard to prove yourself as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

There is one other woman in my office, a recently divorced administrator I barely know. She’s very open about her online dating and sex life, and I am at a loss. I feel it’s extremely inappropriate for her to share detailed information with me in the workplace. I’m also afraid the guys will hear her and take me less seriously as a professional and equal.

I have tried politely changing the subject, ignoring her or avoiding her, but nothing seems to work. I don’t want to embarrass her by telling her flat out to not discuss her sex life with me, but I’m not sure what else I can do. What would you suggest?

Covering My Ears

Dear Covering: What the woman is doing can be considered sexual harassment, and in most sizable businesses — yours appears to be one — there are policies in place to protect employees. I suggest you tell her that hearing about her sexual escapades makes you uncomfortable and to please stop. And if she doesn’t, discuss it with either human resources or your employer.

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

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