DEAR ABBY: My sister, the mother of three boys, is now unable to take care of them. My family is asking me and my new husband to take them in.
To me it's a no-brainer -- something I'd do in a heartbeat. My husband refuses! He says that if we do, we'll never have children of our own. I feel like I'm being forced to choose between my husband and my nephews. What would you do? -- PULLED IN TWO IN CINCINNATI
DEAR PULLED IN TWO: I'd keep talking to my husband about it, and find out why he thinks that taking in your nephews would prevent you from having children of your own. As a newly married man, he may be feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of having three boys to raise and support -- so he can't imagine having another child with you.
Do not let the subject rest until you have the answers to all of your questions. If the reasons are financial, perhaps he'd be more open to the idea if the rest of the family is willing to chip in. If that's not the case, then you will have some serious choices to make.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my wonderful wife for 35 years. Friends have said they wish they could have a relationship like ours, but an interloper has come between us, interfering with our ability to communicate.
Her cellphone has taken over her life. She's constantly playing word games with 12 different friends, texting, etc. It starts first thing in the morning and lasts into the night. I returned my cellphone after two weeks when I saw the writing on the wall.
My wife and I used to sit together and have nice conversations. Now they are interrupted by weird noises when her phone announces she has another text.
I took a friend on a fishing trip to Mexico, and his phone never left his palm. Is this my future? -- MISSING FACE TIME IN ARIZONA
DEAR MISSING: Yes, unless you are able to negotiate an agreed-upon period of time during which you are your wife's first priority and her cellphone is turned off. As to your fishing buddy, either accept that he has a new toy, or cast around for someone who is less technology-addicted to join you next time.
DEAR ABBY: After two years of dating, my girlfriend, "Noelle," and I have become engaged. I asked for her father's blessing, and after first telling me he wanted a few weeks to think about it, he said yes. He then complained because he thought I'd ask him "somewhere with less distractions." (We were at the house, alone. He was sitting on the couch and I was in a chair.) I think he was just looking for something to gripe about.
After receiving his blessing, I proposed. Her dad says he's happy for us, but keeps acting like the wedding is years away. We have set a date for nine months from now, but he won't even discuss the budget. He calls Noelle and tells her who he wants her to invite, but seems surprised to find out it costs money. He's breaking her heart.
I am buying a condo, so I don't have much money available, but I have offered to help as much as I can. It's killing Noelle to have her father act this way. He is complaining about being forced to take out a loan. Is there anything I can do to get him to realize he's ruining this for his daughter? -- STRESSED-OUT GROOM, REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.
DEAR STRESSED OUT: Probably not, but you could relieve the stress on everyone by talking Noelle into a romantic elopement.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.