My wife constantly craves compliments about her age. When we meet people, she regularly asks how old they are, which I think is rude and inappropriate. Then she asks me if I know how old they are, and I say “no” because I don’t think it’s any of my business. She then asks them, “How old do you think I am?” Almost always they guess low, which makes her happy. She thinks there’s something wrong with me for not being curious about someone’s age. Is it appropriate when meeting someone to ask how old he or she is? To me, it’s like asking how much they weigh — which is also none of my business! Is my wife rude, or am I the one with the problem?
From Dayton, Ohio
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Your wife constantly fishing for compliments is understandably irritating to you. The only thing I can suggest for you to do, is to change her mindset on the external, no matter how much it may damage her psychologically. Ok, here are some ideas for your consideration. Try to meet someone beforehand, without your wife’s knowledge. And when you meet them with your spouse for the “first” time, tell them to say to her after she asks them to guess her age, that she looks “young, but not pretty”, and then for that person to add “looking wholesome and homely is not really a bad thing”. Or, every time someone tells her in front of you that she is older than she appears, start laughing hysterically, and then hand that person a business card of a local optometrist. If you really want to give her self-esteem a major hit, suggest to your spouse that she should start going to the gym and working out, so her youthful face will match her body, and that’ll help you suppress your overwhelming desire to turn the lights out whenever she starts to undress. But if you really want to send her a strong long lasting message, try this idea. Have someone tell her in front of you, that if a married women ages really well, as soon as she starts getting gray hair or wrinkles, her husband will begin have intense nightly fantasies about being with younger women… that aren’t conceited. And immediately after that, tell your wife, when you get home, there is something you want to confess to her, but halfway home, inform her that you changed your mind and you don’t want to talk about it, ever. I hope this helps.