Dear Ann Landers, I am in my late 70s, and my wife is a few years younger than I am. She is neat about herself, keeps the house clean, keeps my shirts washed and ironed, and is a great cook. So what's the problem? Why at my age am I writing to Ann Landers? Here is my dilemma:
Whenever I try to tell a story, my wife interrupts me and proceeds to give her version, leaving me dangling in mid-sentence. When I try to continue, I do so at the risk of starting an argument, which embarrasses everybody. This happens whether we are dining with friends or at home, just the two of us.
Our children rarely visit anymore and have told me privately it is because they cannot bear to hear their mother belittle me. I'm sure it doesn't help that she also tells them what they should eat and how much.
We have been married for longer than 50 years. My wife normally has a few martinis before dinner and then wine with her meal. I have no illusions about her changing her ways, but I hope you might have a suggestion or two to help me cope with the situation. No name or city, please, just - Diminished in California
Dear California, You have been married to this woman for more than 50 years, so by now, you should know she is strong-willed and domineering, and as you said, she is not going to change.
You can, however, refuse to let her horn in when you are talking. Simply say, "Please let me tell it my way, and if you want to give your version later, fine," and keep on talking.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT relinquish the floor. Keep on talking. (P.S. The martinis and wine don't help the situation. How about shortening the "cocktail" time? I suspect part of her excessive gabbiness is because of the fact that she is half shnockered.)