DEAR ABBY: “Brett” and I have been married for six years. We have no children, although I would dearly love to have one. Brett has a child from a previous relationship.

When I bring up the subject of having a child, he agrees, but when I tell him I am ovulating, he says he’s too tired to try, or he makes up another excuse.

I have asked for a divorce several times, but Brett says he will not divorce me. This is extremely frustrating for me. He knows I am taking prenatal pills and buying ovulation kits. I have also threatened to get artificially inseminated or to adopt. I feel as if I’m living in hell. What do I do? – ACHING TO BE A MOMMY

Forget about artificial insemination or adopting without your husband’s support, unless you are ready to raise a child by yourself. Your husband has serious issues about becoming a father again, and it’s time you found out what they are. Marriage counseling might help you get to the bottom of it.

That said, you do not need your husband’s permission to end this marriage. If you have reached your limit, consult an attorney who specializes in family law. If you married Brett with the understanding that there would be children, you may qualify for an annulment.

DEAR ABBY: I work in retail, and I’m having a problem I am not sure how to handle. Customers almost constantly touch my hands and shoulders. I feel it is an intentional invasion of my personal space.

Many customers have grabbed me by the arm to pull me with them to find where certain items are located. I have a friendly face, and I’m willing to help people, but I do not like being touched. What can I say to make it clear to customers that this is not OK? – NICKI IN MARYLAND

Discuss this with your supervisor, and ask if your employer has a policy in place regarding touching. One way to solve the problem would be to make sure to stay out of arm’s reach. Another might be to see if there is something else you can do in the store that would give you less contact with customers.

If that’s not possible, consider looking for a job in something other than retail. But to tell someone that a touch on the hand, arm or shoulder is unwelcome could lose you – and the store – a customer, and I don’t recommend it.

DEAR ABBY: I am newly married and have discovered how skilled my husband’s family is at finding the cloud in every silver lining.

What advice can you offer so I can diplomatically steer our conversations toward more positive topics? With Easter here, please help me maintain my sanity around these sour relatives. – SUNNY-SIDE UP, ALTOONA, PA.

When your in-laws raise an unpleasant subject, try this. Smile and say, “This is such a wonderful occasion. Let’s have a good time and talk about happy things!” Then change the subject.

Happy Easter, everyone!

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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