DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Ron,” and I have been married for 49 years. When we retired, we moved to Florida. Ron is 71 and healthy. He rides his bike 30 to 50 miles every day. He also mows the lawn and takes care of all the gardening.
The problem is, after all that activity in the heat and humidity, he doesn’t bother to shower. He’ll just change his clothes into whatever he wears for the nighttime. I have spoken to him about it, but I can’t seem to get through.
My three sons, ages 47, 43 and 42, don’t want to speak to him about it because they don’t live with us. For them, it’s only a temporary problem.
I’m at my wits’ end. I am sensitive to odors, and it has gotten to the point that I want to move out. Please, can you give me some ideas on what to do? The air fresheners I bought for his room are not enough. — SOMETHING ROTTEN IN THE SOUTH
DEAR SOMETHING: You say you have been married to Ron for 49 years. Was he always so slovenly about his personal hygiene? If it’s recent, this may be something that should be brought to the attention of his doctor.
As people age, their senses of sight, hearing and smell start to become less acute. If there’s nothing wrong with those senses, could he be developing dementia? Frankly, that was my first thought after reading your letter.
If that’s not the case, is it possible that his poor hygiene is intended to keep you away? If that’s the reason, then you have two choices — give him an ultimatum, or ride it out. However, if you do the former, you must be prepared to follow through and accept the consequences.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 13-year-girl who recently learned some devastating news. One of my good friends, “Sasha,” is being abused by her parents. It happens a lot. They beat her with spatulas until they break. She has had broken bones because of them.
Sasha told me she’s thinking about suicide and has a plan to overdose on her ADHD meds. I thought it was time to tell someone, so I texted a tip to one of the teachers at our school and told them all about what had happened. One of my other friends told me it wasn’t a good idea to do that because her parents will probably hurt her even worse because she told.
I am really worried about her. Did I do the right thing? Is there any other advice that you could give me in order to help her? — REPORTED ABUSE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR REPORTED: Not only did you do the right thing, you did it perfectly. When a friend confides that she feels so hopeless that death is the answer, the appropriate response is not to keep it a secret, but to try to get her help. You did that, and I applaud you for it.