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Publication: Dear Abby
Another Child Won't Solve Problems In Rocky Marriage

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           DEAR ABBY - January 26, 2007 

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ABBY: I'm active-duty military but retiring within a year 
with no plans for future employment as yet. My wife is 38 
and I am 39. We have three children, ages 20, 18 and 15.

My wife has the urge to have another child, but I don't 
want to have another one. I have been looking forward to 
the time we would have alone with each other. I also know 
that our debt-to-income ratio is poor, and I was looking 
forward to climbing out of the red. Another child will not 
help things.

Our relationship has been rocky for the past four years -- 
and up and down most of our 19 years of marriage. However, 
we always managed to bounce back.

I'm afraid if I don't give in to another child, it will be
the straw that breaks the camel's back, and she'll resent 
me to the point that we won't be able to get over it. We 
are in counseling, but it hasn't seemed to help. We are 
told to "compromise," but I don't know how to compromise 
over a situation like this. I'd do anything for her, but 
I just feel like this isn't the right thing for us to do 
at this point in our lives.

Please help me keep this family together and still make 
everyone happy. I really need your help. 

ROCK: Babies are blessings, but they can also stress a 
troubled marriage past the breaking point. Perhaps it's 
time you went for a different kind of counseling -- 
financial counseling. A financial counselor should be 
able to tell you if you can afford another child, and 
what the sacrifices will be if you do decide to have one.

Your marriage has always been troubled. I'm not sure you 
can keep your family together and make everyone happy. 
Three children do not seem to have brought you and your 
wife closer. It's important that you be true to yourself.


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ABBY: I was abused by both my parents when I was younger. 
Although there were short periods when they were kind, the 
bad far outweighed the good.

I am a decent person. I don't break the law. I don't do 
drugs. I pay my taxes on time, hold down a job and have 
friends. But I no longer love my parents. I don't mistreat 
them, but neither do I love them. I have gotten therapy and 
moved on, at least as much as I can in a relationship where 
the other parties have no desire to change their behavior.

Does this make me a bad person? 

"MICKEY": Not in my book. That your heart is not filled with 
bitterness for those who abused you, and that you have 
managed to move on, means your therapy was successful. To 
repeatedly invite yet another dose of pain makes no more 
sense than to repeatedly touch a hot stove. Not wanting a 
close relationship with people who cause you pain is healthy.

ABBY: My girlfriend's sister asked me to pitch in on a gift 
for their mother. Because it was easier for everyone, I 
simply wound up buying the gift. My girlfriend's sister 
promised to pay half the cost.

Since then, the gift has been given -- and "Sissy" acts 
like she went in on it, but she hasn't paid me. I don't 
want to seem like a pest over this, and it's likely I'll 
be a part of the family someday. Do I ask my girlfriend's 
sister for the money, or keep my mouth shut and learn an 
expensive lesson? 

BRIAN: Ask for the money -- once. If it's not forthcoming, 
recognize that "Sissy" is a flake. This may seem like an 
expensive lesson, but in the long run -- if you join the 
family -- you'll recognize you got off cheap.

ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

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