DEAR ABBY: My husband retired four years ago. At first he seemed to enjoy not having to go to work. Then he got bored and needed something to do. For some reason, he bought an old Corvette to restore. I was supportive, until I found out it’s an expensive hobby. Finding and buying all the replacement parts costs money.

He has been working on that car for 3 1/2 years now. As soon as he gets it ready to drive, something breaks. Meanwhile, he has bought four more old Corvettes “to work on.” Our backyard is like a junkyard.

We haven’t had a vacation trip since he retired, not even a weekend to the mountains. He argues that we can’t afford it, but he spends thousands on those old cars. It has become an obsession for him, and it’s “driving” ME crazy. Any suggestions?

— CORVETTE WIDOW

DEAR WIDOW: Healthy couples discuss large purchases before making them. What your husband is doing is destructive to your relationship. It almost seems as though he is using his hobby as a way of avoiding spending time with you. My suggestion is that you and your husband consult a marriage counselor because what’s going on is unfair to you. And if you need a vacation, consider taking one by yourself or with a friend.

DEAR ABBY: I will be turning 50 soon. How do I explain to my husband and parents that I just want to spend it alone? Is there something wrong with me for feeling this way?

— BIRTHDAY WISH IN IOWA

DEAR BIRTHDAY WISH: People react to their birthdays, especially milestone birthdays, differently. Some are elated, while others feel depressed. Not everyone wants a lot of “hoopla.” If you prefer spending your 50th birthday quietly, your wish should be respected, and you should not have to go into a long explanation about why.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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