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Annie's Mailbox, August 16

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Dear Annie: I just learned that my 21-year-old daughter had an abortion. She has been dating a guy for about a year, but I know she is thinking about breaking up with him.

I found out about the abortion by pure coincidence. I wasn't snooping around. I am saddened and hurt by the fact that my daughter didn't have the courage to tell me about it. Until now, I thought we were really close. My daughter knows she can come to me with all her problems. I am very understanding.

Do you think I should confront her, or should I keep my mouth shut and pretend I don't know? I am really — Confused and Hurt in N.Y.C.

Dear Confused: We don't think "confront" is the right attitude. An abortion is a serious decision, and we are sure it is one your daughter did not reach easily. It serves no purpose to be judgmental, upset or disappointed now. When you have a quiet moment with your daughter, tell her that you found out about the abortion, and ask if she wants to talk about it. If she says no, leave it alone. If she does open up, try to be as supportive as possible. She needs you, Mom.

Dear Annie: I met "Craig" three years ago. We both are in our 50s, and each of us is divorced with grown children. We have been living together for nearly two years, and we have a very loving relationship. But there is one thing that bothers me.

Whenever there is an attractive woman in sight, Craig always checks her out. On occasion, he also flirts. I have told him many times that this hurts me and is disrespectful. He has improved a bit, but not enough.

I know Craig would never cheat on me, but this "looking" bothers me so much that I am thinking of moving out. Am I being ridiculous? I need advice on how to handle this. — Sad in California

Dear Sad: How much "looking" are we talking about? It is perfectly natural for guys to check out an attractive woman, and it means nothing. Flirting is a more serious infraction.

Some men have a flirtatious nature and they charm everyone — male or female. But if Craig is turning it on just for good-looking women, you have a legitimate reason to ask him to knock it off. If he won't, it means he is still playing the field, and you are better off moving out and keeping your distance.

Dear Annie: When I read the letter from "Damned in Detroit," whose wife is not intimate with him, I felt as if I had written it. My wife also finds excuses not to have intimate contact. She actually condemns me for treating her like an object, yet we have sex maybe five times a year. She finds the effort "too inconvenient."

She says she is too tired, but, Annie, she works a total of 20 hours a week. She does none of the cooking, and her only household chore is putting the dishes in the dishwasher. The children and I do all the rest.

While she is too tired to be with me, she will drop everything to take off with her girlfriends or attend one of her family functions. Her family is dysfunctional, and the weeks preceding these never-ending affairs often fill her with angst as she tries to make everything perfect.

Like "Damned," I, too, pray for that nighttime heart attack. I tried counseling and was told I am wasting my time. I was put on tranquilizers, but being happy about being miserable is not what I am looking for. Leaving would not improve the intimacy situation and would only exacerbate the financial problems. There is no reprieve for men like us. We either weather this damnation until death, we divorce and become cash cows for uncaring harpies, or we contemplate suicide. Life does not always have easy answers. — Wishing It Wasn't So in Wisconsin

Dear Wishing: True, but "becoming a cash cow" is a much better solution than suicide and gives you the option of finding happiness with someone else. Please go back to your counselor and ask for more help.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2006 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



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