Dear Abby: I live with my parents and am not fond of children. My father volunteers me to baby-sit my nieces while they are right in front of us and before I have a chance to discuss anything. If I stand up for myself and say no, my father lays a guilt trip on me and tells the kids that their aunt is “being mean.”
I’m grateful that my parents took me in after I graduated from university, which has allowed me to work on a second degree. However, when I am volunteered to do something I don’t enjoy — like entertain the kids — my father somehow always manages to leave the house. He often lectures me about things I should do or things others should do, but he never does any of them himself. His excuse is that he works to support us financially.
Am I being ungrateful? Should I grin and bear it or do an intervention with Dad when the kids aren’t over?
Dear Overtired: Assuming that you have told your father your feelings, he may feel that because he supports you, he has the right to volunteer your services. What might work would be to tell your sibling how you feel about being trapped into doing it — and about kids in general. I know I wouldn’t want any children of mine to be around someone who resents having to care for them. Perhaps your sibling will feel the same.
Dear Abby: I have been with my husband, “Elliot,” for six years, married for two. We’re financially stable and have great, supportive families.
One of our biggest issues is that Elliot needs to be emotionally coddled, and I give in to it. It’s taxing to be the strong one all the time, and the result is I don’t feel as attracted to him. He complains that I’m “not fun” anymore or that I’m a “prude.”
Now that I’m pregnant, things have gotten worse. I expected to be treated like a pregnant goddess, but Elliot feels no emotional attachment to our baby and is afraid of becoming a father. I find it hard to deal with because we planned this pregnancy.
We have been fighting a lot lately, and while he was out, I read his journal. It stated that he knows he doesn’t love his wife anymore. Since that day I have been a wreck, but I have been unable to talk to him about it.
Every morning he tells me he loves me. Now I ask him, “Are you sure?” to which he replies, “Of course!” Is he lying? Should I confront him about the journal entry even though I invaded his privacy?
Dear Pregnant Goddess: Recognize that Elliot is less emotionally mature than you are, which is why you’ve been stuck being “the strong one.” Once the baby comes, you will have less time to coddle him, which may make him jealous. People have good days and bad ones. Your husband may have been having a bad one when he wrote what you read.
This may seem like blasphemy, but not all dads-to-be are excited when faced with the reality of impending parenthood. Some are intimidated, which may be what Elliot is feeling. You may find that once the baby arrives, he will bond with him/her. However, if it doesn’t happen, or if you continue to feel emotionally isolated, you both should get marriage counseling. Then he can explain why he would tell you one thing and be writing the opposite in his journal.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.