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by Abigail Van Buren

Father Baffled by Daughter's Attraction to Jobless Man

DEAR ABBY: Help! My daughter, a medical professional in her 30s who has earned bachelor's and master's degrees from two of the top universities in the country, is involved with a guy who doesn't have a high school diploma (not even a GED). She's now talking marriage to him. He does not now, nor has he to my knowledge ever, held a steady job. He lives with his aging mother.

I can see what's in it for him -- a meal ticket for the rest of his life -- but for the life of me, I can't see what my daughter has to gain from this relationship. He doesn't even talk to her with dignity and respect. I'm just baffled.

Wouldn't you know that she's convinced that her mother and I -- as well as her three siblings -- are all wrong in our assessment of him? We have always contributed to those on welfare, but, Abby, what would compel my daughter to marry a welfare case? Please help me understand. -- STRUGGLING IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR STRUGGLING: Love can sometimes be blind. Your daughter may be so physically attracted to this man that she cannot see beyond it. Or she may have a need to be needed. Or she may need to feel "important," and thinks that having the financial upper hand will assure her security in the marriage. Or she may see some quality in him that you all have overlooked. Not knowing your daughter, I can't judge whether her attraction to him is because of low self-esteem, or because it's so high she doesn't need a man as a status symbol.