However, when he realizes he has a weekend day free (meaning I'm taking our 6-year-old daughter someplace he doesn't need to be), he all of a sudden "finds" the energy to make golf plans, go on outings with friends, etc. If I make plans to hire a baby sitter and it's just us going out, he has the energy and looks forward to it. It's as if he is happiest when he doesn't have to be with our child.
He does give her some attention, but it's just in spurts, and then he's off again to watch TV. I'm tired of asking him to make plans with her or spend time with her. I feel like a nag for something I feel he should want to do. Any advice? — LIKE A SINGLE PARENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR SINGLE PARENT: You married a man who may have no clue how to be a parent and doesn't know how to relate to a little girl. Children aren't stupid. They know when someone enjoys them and when someone doesn't.
The effect of his lack of interest will have an impact on how your daughter feels about herself when she's older. She will ask herself why her father acts the way he does and blame herself for it. (Aren't I smart enough? Aren't I pretty enough?)
Consider going with your husband to a psychologist who can provide him with some insight — as well as suggestions — about how to better relate to his daughter, because it isn't too late to make some changes that could benefit both of them.
DEAR ABBY: I need some outside advice. I just found out that my mother has breast cancer. That is hard enough, but I also found out that she has known for the last 18 months and decided to not take any measures to fight it.
My sisters say we should respect her decision and give her as much support as we can, but I can't help but want to push her to fight this. She said she doesn't want the pain of surgery and possibly chemotherapy. I need someone to help me understand what to do. Please. — NEEDS SOME HELP IN TEXAS
DEAR NEEDS SOME HELP: I don't know at what stage your mother's cancer was at the time of her diagnosis and whether she got a second opinion and counseling. After 18 months of not being treated, I also don't know at what stage it may be now. It may have been too late then — or it may be too late now.
If she made her decision under the assumption that there would be no pain if she skipped the surgery/chemo, she was incorrect. There is pain either way, although with heavy medication it may be controlled.
I do think you should support her decision and make the best of the time you have together. Your sisters are right — she will need your support as her disease progresses. My heart goes out to all of you. Please accept my sympathy.
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.