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Ask Amy

She wants all his attention on her

Q. I am in a relationship with a wonderful man. We’ve been together for 18 months. The relationship is good, and he claims to love me. However, I’m starting to observe some things about him that I don’t like.

He seems to love the attention of other women. When we’re out, he’ll see women around us and start conversations with them. They will laugh and joke in my presence. I’ve walked away a few times during these interactions.

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Whenever I mention to him how it makes me feel, he’ll say something like “I’m only being nice” or “Am I supposed to walk with my head down and pay attention to only you?”

Do you think I’m being overly sensitive like he says? Tired

A. Yes, you are being overly sensitive. I’m going to assume that your boyfriend was like this when you two met and fell in love. In the early days of your relationship you might have actually been drawn to this trait of his.

So unless he has changed recently, your primary job is to examine your own reaction to this and figure out if you can behave differently in order to feel better. Walking away is not the answer.

He should make an effort to include you. If he needs to be better at this, then ask him to work on it. Secure and successful couples put their relationship at the center of social interactions but also include others. Laughing and joking with other people sounds like a good thing. You should try it.

Q. I recently retired at age 65. My wife of 17 years (10 years my junior) still works a part-time job four days a week. She works five hours a day. She also takes an aerobics class four or five days a week.

She is irritated that I don’t cook more. She also says I should not tell her I worked 47 years to earn what we have now and that I deserve to enjoy my retirement.

I do yardwork around our large place and have lots of “to-do’s” for the next few years. I enjoy golf and reading and relaxing. I volunteer at our daughter’s school. I also do most of the laundry, drive our daughter to and from school three to four days a week and cook about once a week.

Is my wife right to insist that I should do most of the cooking because she is tired when she gets home at 3 o’clock in the afternoon? Retired

A. You definitely deserve to kick back, but just don’t do it in front of your wife. There is nothing more annoying than coming home from work with your arms full of groceries and starting dinner while your partner enjoys a good book. And, no, you should not throw your 47 years of work at your wife. You are in a family together and should both contribute to the household.

I think you should commit to taking care of dinner at least twice during the workweek on specific days.

If you two cooked on a schedule, it would free both of you to enjoy some downtime; this will eliminate the daily “dinner dance,” where you circle one another to see who blinks first and starts the cooking. You should also make an effort to cook together a couple of times a week; this will ease the burden for both of you and can be a very enjoyable way to kick off the evening. A couples’ cooking class might make this less of a chore for both of you.

Also, doing laundry for a family of three is not a big job. Assign this to your daughter.

Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@tribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.
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