DEAR ABBY: My husband and I want to start a family, but until now our circumstances have not made this possible. After a big move and starting a new business, we have decided it's about time.
My problem is my husband uses drugs to relieve stress. I don't feel he abuses them; it just takes the edge off after a hard day's work like a glass of wine does for me sometimes.
I would like him to stop taking the drugs while we are trying to conceive in case it could affect the baby. He is unwilling and it makes me crazy. I have decided that if he can't do this, he isn't ready to be a father. On the other hand, he's a hard worker, and I wonder if by asking him to do this I am being selfish. Please give me some advice. -- READY FOR MOTHERHOOD IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR READY FOR MOTHERHOOD: You are not being selfish, you are being prudent. According to Dr. June Reinisch, director emerita of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction: "There is some evidence that suggests certain drugs can attach to the sperm and therefore affect the fetus. So the best plan for a healthy baby would be for the man to be as 'clean' as possible before he starts to make a child. This is because sperm are produced about three months before they are released."
DEAR ABBY: One of my husband's relatives is filing for bankruptcy for the third time. His wife recently started to receive disability. I believe they are abusing the system.
I know she was not truthful on her disability application. I work in the health care field and in the past have completed evaluations for disability claims. I know the only way she would meet the requirements would be if she misrepresented her current abilities.
Everyone else in the family works hard to support themselves, so I can't understand how this attitude is tolerated. What has pushed me over the edge is they have announced they're going to have a "bankruptcy party." They have invited everyone over to enjoy food and beverages that will be purchased with a credit card they have no intention of paying.
I feel an obligation to alert the disability office to her misrepresentation. My husband agrees that what they're doing is wrong, but he doesn't want me to do anything about it. This has caused a problem between us because I no longer want to go to family dinners. I know if I keep going and have to listen to them laugh about using taxpayer dollars to support their laziness, I will eventually explode. What do you think about this? -- SOMEWHERE IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR SOMEWHERE: I think your relatives are committing fraud and that it should be reported. Disability payments were meant for individuals who truly need them, not those who are gaming the system. And if you choose not to associate with these kinds of morally bankrupt individuals, you shouldn't have to. I can see how it would ruin your appetite. Shenanigans like this should be investigated and the abusers prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
DEAR ABBY: Well, here is a new one on me. I was walking through a Macy's looking for my wife, and right there in front of me was a 40-something woman in her bra trying on a blouse! Please tell me -- is this the new normal? -- GREG IN GAINESVILLE, FLA.
DEAR GREG: It's unusual, but not unheard of -- particularly if all of the dressing rooms are in use. In order to prevent this from happening again, avert your eyes when you're in the women's department.
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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