Couple’s evolving romance now includes parenthood

Published 8:28 am Thursday, December 28, 2023

DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing the same man for a year and a half. In the beginning, we were, basically, friends with benefits, and we were OK with that. Having both gone through recent breakups or divorce, neither of us wanted anything serious. However, after six months passed, I started falling for him. He always made clear that if he didn’t want to go down that road, we would break ties, but the way he acted indicated that maybe one day there would be more.
After eight months, we found out I was two months pregnant. Our baby changed how we both felt about a relationship, but we had things we needed to work through before going down that road. I started therapy – not for him, but because I knew I needed it for myself and, ultimately, our daughter.
We moved in together five months ago. Being together with our daughter has been wonderful. It has made me fall even more in love with him. When I recently told him I want to officially be his lady, he said there are still a few things he wants me to work on – not personality changes, but things like the fact that I’m pushy. I recognize I can be that way, and impatient too, but I feel I wouldn’t be so pushy if he gave me more definitive answers. What do you think about this? – READY FOR A REAL RELATIONSHIP

DEAR READY: I applaud you for seeing a therapist to work through your issues. Now I think the time has come for you and this man to seek couples counseling to determine whether you can iron out your differences. I am not sure whether you two were really on the same page from the beginning of this relationship. Counseling should help you decide how to move forward now that there is a child involved, because you WILL be co-parenting for a long time, regardless of the direction your relationship takes.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I own a parrot we take with us pretty much everywhere. He draws a lot of attention and questions from strangers, which I’m usually happy to answer.
You might be surprised at how many people own or have owned birds, and many of them love to share their stories about how their parrot or parakeet died. (It’s often from neglect or improper care or breeding.) These stories are often related in a jovial way, as if they should be amusing or relatable. It really upsets me to have to stand there nodding with fake amusement or sympathy. I am tempted to say something snarky, but I refrain.
I love birds, and I don’t like being reminded how disposably they are treated. People don’t tend to share graphic stories about dead dogs, cats or children in public. It makes me sad to hear about their dead birds every time I go outside to enrich my own pet’s life. What can I say to stop this unwanted and depressing storytelling before it gets started? – BIRD LOVER IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR BIRD LOVER: Try being honest and telling these people that hearing about their experience makes you sad, and why. That should shut ’em up.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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