DEAR ABBY: I am a 26-year-old single mom with a 5-year-old daughter. I have been seeing “Rhett,” a wonderful, sweet man, for more than a year. I have fallen very much in love with him and he with me – I think.

Ever since Rhett met my daughter, all the fun, romantic, serious stuff we used to talk about has flown out the window. Anytime I try to talk sexy or serious about our relationship, he acts uncomfortable and changes the subject to my daughter and how she’s doing in school, what her interests are, how she’s feeling, etc.

This may sound selfish, but I miss the “us” conversations Rhett and I used to have. I am a mother 24/7. I want my romance back! But I’m afraid if I broach the subject, I’ll sound jealous.

I am thrilled that Rhett loves my daughter and I know, since he has never had kids, this is a novelty. But it’s like the romance has turned into a relationship that’s centered exclusively on my daughter. Of course, I want his concern and help in rearing her, but something tells me this isn’t normal. Help! – NOT SELFISH IN GEORGIA

DEAR NOT SELFISH: The “something” that’s telling you his behavior isn’t normal is your intuition. Please pay attention to your feelings because they are trying to convey something important.

By all means, raise the subject with Rhett, and don’t beat around the bush. As it stands your romance is dead in the water. He may have hang-ups about being romantically involved with a woman who has given birth – or his preoccupation with your daughter could be sexual.

P.S. If your daughter has not already been made aware of the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching, she is old enough now.

DEAR ABBY: I am 86 years old. My husband died six months ago, after 60 wonderful years of marriage.

As I have been mourning and reliving our life together, my 50-year-old daughter – my only child – has informed me that when she was a teenager, her father molested her often and raped her one week before her marriage “so she wouldn’t be inexperienced,” he said. She told me the molestation went on for two years before the rape. (She married at 18.)

Why did she have to tell me now? She says it is because she could no longer stand me talking about how “wonderful” he was. Now my heart is broken, and all I want to do is die.

Why would someone want to ruin your memories after all this time? Wouldn’t it have been better to have left me with my illusion than ruin what life I have left? – HEARTBROKEN IN DENVER

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Better for whom? Your daughter has already tried to answer your question. After all those years of keeping quiet, what broke the camel’s back was listening to you idealize your husband. What I don’t understand is why your daughter kept silent so long, when she should have told you what was happening when she was 16 – or told the police what happened when she was 18.

Please don’t think I’m heartless, but you and your daughter will both be better off if you try to see your husband as less of a saint and more of a fallible human being, and forgive each other.

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, CA 90069.


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