DEAR ABBY: I am a 31-year-old wife and mother. My husband, "Jake," works 40-plus hours a week, while I am a stay-at-home mom. My daughter, who is almost 3, keeps me on my toes.
In the evenings and on weekends, Jake does yard work or works in the garden. I hate it because I'm with our daughter all day, every day, and he expects me to watch her while he's outside working.
I dislike yard and garden work and don't like being outside unless I am completely comfortable. I also have health/physical issues that keep me from being as active as I would like. Every weekend I feel my resentment and anger growing over this issue.
Jake says it is necessary for us to have a garden, and I agree. But why must I have all the responsibility of caring for our daughter even on weekends? I'd like it if Jake would stay in with us and give up on some of the outside activities. This is something we argue about at least once a week. What do you suggest? -- SECOND TO A SHRUB IN OREGON
DEAR SECOND TO A SHRUB: While tending to the yard and the garden may be necessary, it is also very important for your husband to devote some time to nurturing his relationship with his daughter. Mention that fact to him, and while you're at it, tell him she should be at least as important to him as the tomato plants and the zinnias. You should not be saddled with all the child care responsibilities 24/7. Marriages are like gardens. If they're not given care and feeding, they will wither as yours appears to be doing.
DEAR ABBY: I'm engaged and being married soon. I have always had very close non-romantic relationships with males. I was raised around guys, so it's natural for me.
People told me that when I fell in love with someone it would be easier to let my male friendships fall by the wayside. This hasn't been the case.
These friendships are the ones I prefer now more than ever. The conversations are better. I find men more emotionally stable than women. They also let me talk without interrupting to give their opinions as women do.
I love my fiance dearly and he has been incredibly understanding about this, but I can tell it upsets him. I have been known to talk all night with friends, especially when I'm overwhelmed. My fiance is hurt that I don't come to him with these issues, but he's in medical school and has his own stress.
Do I need to eliminate these friendships that come so naturally to me for the sake of my husband-to-be? Is it inappropriate for me to have close male friends after I'm married? -- PREFERS MEN
DEAR PREFERS MEN: Why are you presenting the issue as all or nothing? It's not. Nor is it inappropriate for you to keep close male friendships after you marry -- because that has been your lifelong practice.
However, I do think some behavior modification is in order. The first thing you should do is cut out the all-night dump sessions with these men.
For one thing, the man you marry should be your best friend and the person you go to first to express your concerns when you're overwhelmed. This is part of intimacy, and he may be feeling hurt and shut out because you are denying that to him.
For another, he may have concerns of his own that he'd like to discuss with you. Being on the phone all night talking to someone else is really neglectful of the man you love.
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.
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