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Advice from Dear Webby
Retired Husband Acting Foolish

Dear Webby,

My husband has retired. He has always been an outgoing, fun person but now he acts as if he is on stage. He acts silly and flirty with women friends that we have had for many years. He always has to be the center of attention. I notice it bothers other people as well as me. What can I do?

Signed: Embarrassed

Dear Embarrassed,

I was once told that we only become more of what we were rather than change as we age.

This seems to be the case with your husband. So many women complain that their husbands only sit around watching TV, reading or napping. Be happy that at least he isn't a bore. However too much of a good thing can be just as upsetting.

How is he when you are at home alone with him? Is this an act or the real thing? Maybe he feels isolated, afraid of growing old and is trying to prove something to himself as well as the world.

Did he have a job in which he was "the boss" and people looked up to him and hung on his every word or was he one of the boys? Was he alone in an office or always with a group of people? Perhaps he misses the camaraderie.

Do you go out often? Does he perhaps feel you are losing interest in him now that he is an old duffer? You aren't constantly praising others and ignoring him are you?

You need to find out why he is acting this way. Your course of action will depend on that. For example, your reaction (if any) will vary depending on if he is trying to prove a point, just have a good time or even trying to irritate you.

Try ignoring his behavior and see if it changes.

When you say it "bothers other people" are you sure? Most people enjoy the life of the party, and wish they had the nerve to "wear the lamp shade on their head." Of course they also thank God that their date doesn't.

See if you can help with the root of this problem without discouraging the "outgoing, fun person" he has always been.


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