Tag Archives: husbands

Ask Johanna: Husbands, Frustration, and Food Addiction

Dear Johanna,

My husband never seems to remember what I have said to him.  For instance, if I tell him I want him to take the garbage out, he nods his head and smiles at me, as if he knows what I’m saying and is going to jump right up and do my bidding.  But then, hours go by and the garbage is still sitting there, lonely.  How do I know if he is hard of hearing or has Alzheimer’s?

Ignored in Ithaca

Dear Ignored,

If  he doesn’t remember you telling him that dinner is on the table, he may need to get his ears checked.  If he wanders around the neighborhood in his boxer shorts, it’s Alzheimer’s.  If  he hears you when you tell him the game is starting on t.v. but doesn’t hear you when you ask him to unstop the toilet, he’s a man who has been married more than five years.

Dear Johanna,

Lately I am eating all the time.  I pig out at meals.  I sneak out for ice cream in the afternoon at work.  And, worst of all, I suddenly find myself standing in front of the refrigerator in the middle of the night, a bagel with cream cheese in one hand and Oreos in the other!  My husband is starting to say that I am  a food addict.  What do I do?

Fat in Florida

Dear Fat,

You go to your doctor right away and tell him/her you are not sleeping well and need Ambien.  Then you tell your husband you’ve been taking Ambien for the past few months, and apparently it has caused you to exhibit strange behaviors around food.  Works like a charm! 

Dear Johanna,

I am afraid I no longer love my husband, but I’m too tired to make any changes in my life.  I already have a separate bedroom.  I’ve told him we can’t communicate, so there is no use even trying to talk any more.  The other day, he fell down, and I kicked him–and felt no guilt.  Is this normal at my age?  I’m 65.

Anxious in Anchorage

Dear Anxious,

Your reactions may be a little extreme, but I get where you’re coming from.  I hear that in some cultures, once women are past childbearing age, they all live together happily–and boot the husbands out.  I don’t think that idea would fly in America, but I hear you, sister!  But no more kicking!  Just make him a “man cave” where he can go watch TV and drink beer while you hang out with girlfriends.  You’re much less likely to end up in jail!



Ask Johanna: On Husbands

We hope this month’s “Ask Johanna”  will resonate with many of our readers.  (There is something about being over 50 that makes us just a tad less patient with our spouses.)

Dear Johanna,

My husband is on Oxycotin for pain, following surgery on his back.  I don’t know if it’s the drugs or him, but he is driving me crazy.  I have been busting my butt cooking for him and preparing restaurant-quality meals, and here is a typical response:  “Boy, this shrimp is tough.  What did you do to it?”  Or, in response to fresh collard greens, sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and ginger:  “These collard greens are chewy!”  I’m trying to be loving and understanding and, since he’s totally immobilized, I’ve stopped myself short of screaming, “Why don’t you cook for yourself or order out?!!!”—but my patience is wearing thin.  Am I being overly sensitive?

Frustrated in Phoenix

Dear Frustrated, I say get him a feeding tube and go dancin’!  Or, if that seems harsh, how about upping the dose of his oxycotin just one night and letting him drift happily into dreamland while you get yourself away from that kitchen?!

Dear Johanna,

My husband is starting another new business—for the 10th time—and it is taken all of our resources.  We’ve used up all of our savings, and there is nothing left.  Yesterday, he said, “I wish I had an extra $3,000—I could really make this business into something.”  I held out my arms and said, “Here, take my last vein!  You want me to give plasma for money?” Tell me, Johanna, was I being too mean?  I want to be a supporting wife, but I have nothing left!

Vehement in Virginia

Dear Vehement, I’d say you’ve done well to have been so nice to him through 9 other ventures!  And, besides, I’m not big on being the perfect wife.  Whenever I try to be one, all I end up with is a giant knot in my stomach—which can only be untangled by a good, cathartic blow-up at my husband.  I recommend it!  It releases stress.  It clears the air.  It may even make you like him again.  Go for it!

Dear Johanna,

My husband insists that he is not hard of hearing and does not need a hearing aid, but every time he watches something on television, he turns up the volume so loud that I’m surprised the neighbors don’t come over to watch the game with him! What can I do?

Going Deaf in Detroit

Dear Deaf, Don’t even try to convince him that he’s deaf.  Just get him one of those wonderful sets of wireless headphones with adjustable volume.  Then, he can turn up his own volume, while you sit happily watching the t.v. at your own, comfortable level.  And, if the store clerk happens to mention that the headphones are tailor-made for deaf people, so be it!

Care-giving for Husbands and Dogs


Just when I thought my care-taking days and nights were diminishing, life decided otherwise.  For starters, my husband’s surgery to pin his hip back in place failed, and ten days later he was back in the hospital for a full-blown hip replacement.  While I know this is a very common procedure, it doesn’t mean it’s easy or pain-free, not to mention what it’s been like for moi.  This time, the doctor recommended home health care, and thank god for Care Partners (and drugs).

Care Partners is providing quality nurses, physical therapists and even an occupational therapist who come to our house for support and care which is not only needed but greatly appreciated.   But, it’s a slow recovery, and my husband hates being dependent on anyone, even me.  And he won’t let me insert a photo of him doing his physical therapy, claiming he has privacy issues.

And for those of you who asked about my sweet rescue, Gus, I’m happy to report that his anal infection is practically gone and he’s doing much better thanks to the very expensive auto-immune drug treatment he was on for thirty days.  Now, he/we have a new problem.  Well, it’s not entirely new as he already had a bad knee (ACL) so, you can imagine the beating his knee took while being severely constipated and forced to squat to do his business.  This all happened while Len was in the hospital, and I had to actually help Gus (all 85 lbs. of him) get up and down despite the customized dog bed I had made for him and Carli.  Thank you Kathleen for making such cool looking beds for both my dogs.     

In between Len’s surgery, I found myself scurrying home to help Gus go out and then finally taking him to the vet – very difficult getting him into the car.  The doc gave him a stronger anti-inflammatory (short term because it could damage the liver) and after 2 days he was improving.  Now he is back to himself and Len is home and I’m exhausted.

And just when I was feeling sorry for myself, I turned on Dr. Oz (daytime T.V. is quite an experience), and  on that particular day I saw a short piece about a young mother who has three (NOT 1 but 3!) autistic children.  That certainly put it all in perspective for me.

Ask Johanna

Dear Johanna,

I’m writing to ask you if you happen to know of the laws for burying dead husbands in Wyoming.  Not that my husband will be dying any time soon.  I’m just wondering.  Is it legal to bury him in the backyard of our ranch, without a tombstone?  I don’t want to attract any unnecessary attention (he’s really a shy kind of guy), and I certainly don’t want to get in trouble with the law, if you know what I mean.

Wondering in Wyoming

Dear Wondering,

I’m with you, girlfriend. I only have three words for you:  Location, Location, Location. You want to make sure that you bury him upstream from your local water source and far enough away from any main road.  And a good time for this activity might be the middle of the night.  I heard shovels are on special at Home Depot this month, but, please, whatever happens, you didn’t hear this from me.

Dear Johanna,

How many pairs–and what type–of black pants should a stylish woman of a certain age  have in her closet?  I have 10 pairs, in sizes ranging from 12 to 22, and some still have the tags on them!

Stylish in Syracuse

Dear Stylish,

My friend, Helga, says any well-dressed woman over fifty should have at least 2 pairs of black pants for every day of the week, just in case she laughs a lot.  As for the style, I always prefer elastic waistbands to allow for frequent changes in my BMI index.  However, I do keep a few inspirational side-zipped Ann Taylor black pants for those occasions when I’ve spent a rare month drinking protein shakes 5 times a day.

Dear Johanna,

I’m so embarassed about my memory now.  How do I explain to my best friend of 30 years that I forgot her husband’s name when I was giving the toast at their 25th wedding anniversary at the house of their oldest daughter (whose name escapes me at the moment)?

Forgetful in Florida

Dear Forgetful,

Sorry.  What was your question?