DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with "Wade" for six years. The situation is this: He has gotten into trouble and can't be around children because he's a registered sex offender. I have an 11-month-old daughter by him. I want to be with Wade and work our relationship out, but if I do, I'll have to give custody of my daughter to my parents and live in my own place with him.
I'm in love with Wade, but I don't know if he loves or wants to be with me anymore despite the fact he keeps saying he wants to be with me. Am I being silly for still wanting to be with him? Your thoughts, please. -- CONFUSED AND TORN IN ILLINOIS
DEAR CONFUSED AND TORN: Wanting to be with someone you love isn't silly, but it's time for you to think maturely and realize the consequences of your decision. After six years with Wade, you are still single. You could be single forever.
When you became a mother, life stopped being all about you. Wade is a sex offender. What if you should become pregnant again? Is it fair to your parents to dump your daughter on them like an unwanted pet? What effect could it eventually have on the child? Do you fully understand that what you have in mind will isolate you from relatives and friends who have minor children?
While I can't dictate what you should do with your life, I can say you're heading in the wrong direction. Please step back and rethink this.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are unsure how to deal with this, so he suggested I write to you. We have lovely dining room chairs covered with celadon green fabric. In spite of the fact that I always use cloth napkins (and placemats and tablecloths), several of our guests have left large stains on the upholstery from dropping food or from their dirty hands.
The stains are very difficult to remove when we can get them out at all, and the chairs have become unsightly. Three of our most recent dinner guests left chairs stained. One mark covered most of the seat.
These guests are not heavy drinkers. How can we get them to keep their napkins in a position to avoid this? And how do we get them to keep their soiled hands off the chairs? Judging from the condition of their napkins, they ARE using them. -- UNHAPPY HOSTESS IN FLORIDA
DEAR UNHAPPY HOSTESS: Face it: Accidents happen, and you can't order your guests to wash their hands between courses. You need to accept that a home isn't a photograph in Architectural Digest. Wear and tear are normal.
If your chairs are stained beyond repair, the time has come to re-cover them. In your case, may I suggest Naugahyde the next time around?
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 12 years to the most self-centered man in the world. He's an astute businessman and a good provider, but when he comes home our conversations are always about him. The moment I start talking about things I think are important, he turns on his TV or shushes me.
I have told him many times how hurtful it is. I feel lonely and unimportant when the things I care about are pushed to the side. How can I get him to stop ignoring me? -- THE SILENT PARTNER
DEAR SILENT PARTNER: If after 12 years your husband still won't listen to you, have your lawyer talk to him. That should get his attention.
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