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DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 17 years and have three wonderful daughters, ages 13, 10 and 5. Lately, I’ve felt like I’m the odd man out in a girls-only club. I wish I had a son I could share my interests with. I’d love to have someone I could take fishing, teach about classic cars and play football and baseball with. I have tried introducing those interests to my girls, but they’re not into them.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughters beyond words. I beam with pride at their cheerleading competitions, at their dance recitals and at family gatherings, and I thank God for them daily. I recently asked my wife if we could try to have one more child in the hopes of having a son. My wife is healthy, all three pregnancies went fine and we both make enough money to be good providers. She said she would “think about it.”
I found out she mentioned this to her mother and sister, both of whom are livid. Her mom compared me to King Henry VIII. Abby, wishing I had a son doesn’t mean I don’t love my daughters. It hurts that such a thing was suggested. Am I in the wrong to want to try one more time? — GIRL DAD IN NEW YORK
DEAR GIRL DAD: You are not wrong. Your feelings are your feelings, and you are entitled to have them. This decision is something that should be between you and your wife, not her extended family. If she feels three children are all she can handle, consider finding young males with whom to share your interests. Consider mentoring fatherless boys who need a role model. Go online and do some research. You may find there are opportunities in your community. However, if there aren’t, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of America because there’s a need for the mentoring you could offer.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a high school student. I have many friends and acquaintances I consider near and dear to my heart. However, this year I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and both have impacted my relationships. I have this problem where I tend to “soak up” the emotions of my friends and loved ones.
If a friend is feeling sad, I do my best to make them feel better (I have been assigned the role of “therapist friend”), but no matter the outcome, I always end up feeling sad. If my friends are happy, I’m happy; if my friends are depressed, I’m depressed. My therapist has described me as an “empath” and a “sponge.”
I have yet to find how to live my own, independent life. I’m sick and tired of feeling the way I feel because of other people. What can I do? — STRUGGLING IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR STRUGGLING: You are already working with a therapist. That’s good news. Now that you know what your diagnosis is, you have someone who can help you manage your emotions so they won’t swamp you. Be patient. Your therapist will help you find the tools to accomplish this, and they will be important for you later in life.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)