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by Abigail Van Buren

Happy Parenthood Leads to a Miserable Marriage

DEAR ABBY: After three years of marriage, my husband, "Jeff," and I decided to have a child. I became pregnant immediately.

What I thought would make us both happy and bring us closer actually did the opposite. I had a miserable pregnancy and felt abandoned. Jeff grew emotionally distant and stopped communicating almost completely except for our constant battles.

Our son is now 16 months old and the apple of my eye. Jeff has a new job with a good future. We bought a house and live in a great neighborhood, but he is still distant and picks fights constantly. He agrees counseling might help, but refuses to go. I have tried to improve our relationship, including private counseling, but it's not working.

Jeff is a great father but a lousy husband. We both changed with my pregnancy -- he went from a helpful, happy husband to a miserable, frustrated man. Divorce is expensive -- financially and emotionally -- and a battle will most likely ensue over our son. Where can I go from here? -- UNHAPPY IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR UNHAPPY: With no input from your husband about what is wrong, it's difficult to say. However, one line in your letter, "What I thought would make us both happy actually did the opposite," makes me wonder if your husband felt trapped by the pregnancy -- and his subsequent behavior is the result of feeling pushed into fatherhood he didn't feel ready for.

Where you go from here depends upon how much longer you're prepared to tolerate your living situation. One thing is certain, nothing will change until you BOTH have laid your cards on the table. If your husband refuses to go to counseling, perhaps your next step should be to consult a lawyer about what your options are. There are worse things than divorce. A contentious marriage like yours is one of them.

DEAR ABBY: I am an 11th-grade girl. Our student handbook states that "public display of affection is discouraged at school and could result in disciplinary action." If this is true, shouldn't a student also get in trouble for sexual harassment?

A guy in one of my classes has been touching, grabbing and pinching me. I told some of my girlfriends, and two of them said he does the same thing to them. We hadn't wanted to tell each other, but now we're glad we did.

We went to the assistant principal's office with our complaint. He gave the boy one day of detention. After that, things got worse. The creep is still picking on us, and our school isn't doing anything to make him stop.

What do we do now, Abby? Were we wrong to tell? If not, how come nobody is doing anything to protect us? School is supposed to be a safe place, right? Please help us. -- THREE GIRLS FROM ZANESVILLE, OHIO

DEAR GIRLS: Document each instance -- date, time and place -- in order to establish a record. Tell your parents what's going on. It's time for your parents to discuss this matter with the school principal. If that does not stop the harassment, take it up with the board of education. They need to know what's going on before it's necessary to take legal action.

Readers, here is a gem. It was submitted by Tom Berilla of Silver Spring, Md.:

DEAR ABBY: My daughter, Claire, told my 3-year-old granddaughter, Hanna, "We plan to remodel the kitchen and dining room, and move the walls from 'here to there.'" Trying to include her little girl in the project, she asked, "And what would Hanna like?" Hanna's reply: "Take away the time-out corner!"

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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