"Brad" and I have been together for 12 years. We have two beautiful children under the age of 10, but Brad refuses to get involved with them.
He will play with the younger one maybe 20 minutes a week. The older one gets even less attention. Brad refuses to take them anywhere to play -- unless there is something in it for him. When they are with their dad, they are stuck in front of a television set or left to play by themselves. It's up to me to entertain the children, and that leaves me with little time alone.
I don't understand it. Brad had a happy childhood filled with lots of love, attention, family activities, etc. We both work full time and have a nice home. I have talked to him about this problem, but like everything else, if it's not important to him, it's not important. He also doesn't have time to help me with housework because he "needs" TV, computer and sleep time.
Thank you for any help you can provide.
Needs Insight in New York
You have described a man who has turned selfishness into an art form. It appears your life partner received so much love and attention as a child that he never learned it was necessary to give to others. In a sense, he has never grown up. Your children have my sympathy, because they deserve better.
Brad is not likely to change, so it's time to look elsewhere for a father figure for your children. Is there an uncle, cousin or grandfather who could spend time with them -- take them to the movies, sporting events or show an interest?
You, too, have my sympathy because it appears you have not two, but three "children" on your hands.
About four years ago, a woman I know, "Cathy," gave me a beautiful matching ring and bracelet. She told me at the time that she couldn't wear them because they were too small. Cathy said she knew I loved jewelry and wanted me to have the set because she didn't know anyone else who would enjoy it as much as I would.
I accepted the items and wear them frequently. I love them.
Cathy has since had gastric bypass surgery and lost nearly 150 pounds. She recently came into the office where I work and told me that since she has lost so much weight, she wants the jewelry back as she can now wear it. Should I return the ring and bracelet?
Undecided in Alabama
Once a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient to do with as she wishes. The question you must ask yourself is, which is worth more to you -- the friendship or the jewelry? Only you can answer that.
My husband works at a busy airport for an elevator company. Among his varied duties, he must file a report on all elevator and escalator accidents. A few simple rules would eliminate the vast majority of accidents. It would be a great public service if you would print these safety tips in your column.
Delight J., Winterhaven, Fla.
I'm "delighted" to spread the word.
* Step on and off elevators and escalators carefully.
* Do not use your hand to stop an elevator door from closing.
* If the elevator doors won't open, remain calm, ring the alarm button and wait.
* Hold the handrails on escalators at all times.
* Stand facing forward on escalators.
And now I'll add two tips of my own: Do not run "up" the "down" escalators, and if you are wearing long garments, make sure when stepping off that your clothing does not become caught in the mechanism.
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, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate