DEAR ABBY: My husband of three years, "Mike," is never home. He goes to work and then hangs out with his buddies, leaving me at home with our baby and my two other children until late at night. On weekends, Mike jumps out of bed, showers and leaves -- sometimes not returning until the wee hours of the morning. He says he's "with friends."
Most of the time he doesn't bother to call, but when he does I'm usually so mad I don't answer the phone. Mike says he "needs his time." Well, what about our time as a couple and as a family? I told him I feel like I'm running a bed-and-breakfast.
My friends say they think Mike has someone else. I'm not sure. This has been going on for a year and a half, and I am tired of it. He rarely agrees to watch the baby if I have to run to the store. When he's home, all he does is play video games.
Abby, Mike is 34 years old. I am 41. He has touched me only once in the last four months. I feel rejected, lonely and miss the closeness. What should I do? -- HOME ALONE IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR HOME ALONE: Your husband is behaving like an adolescent who has run away from home. The cause may be another woman, anger at you, an inability to shoulder mature responsibility or a combination of the three. But you won't get to the bottom of it until you can get a handle on your emotions, stop reacting with anger, and convince him to level with you. Believe me, you have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 17-year-old male. When I was in middle school, I was considerably smaller than the other guys, and as a result, I was often picked on about my size. Every year we were required to take a physical fitness test in P.E. My dismal performance in front of my classmates was a source of great embarrassment.
I'm now a junior in high school and participate in numerous varsity sports. Even though I am a competitive athlete, I am still insecure about my body. I constantly worry about my size -- that I am too fat or too small. I am never content about my body. How can I build my self-confidence? -- LAS VEGAS TEEN
DEAR TEEN: Begin by having a talk with your coach. If your body wasn't in good shape, you would not be in varsity competition.
Next, make up your mind to focus on other aspects of yourself besides the physical. Volunteer some of your free time to a charitable cause, helping younger kids with sports, or community activities. It will give you less time to obsess about your body, help you develop other interests and make you feel good about yourself.
If that's not enough, then talk to a counselor, because what you are doing is replaying "old tapes" in your head that have nothing to do with the person you are today.
DEAR ABBY: I dress my Siamese cat, "Belle," in clothes and pajamas. (Yes, they make apparel for cats.) I also push her around in a stroller. My friends think I'm crazy, but I consider Belle to be my daughter.
One time, a teenager came up to me as I was pushing Belle in her stroller and asked, "Where's the baby?" I told her that Belle was like my baby.
Is it nuts to treat a cat like a child? -- MOM OF A FUR KID IN N.Y.
DEAR "MOM": Nuts? No. A bid for attention ... perhaps.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600