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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife's Suspicions Are Raised by Husband's Many Secrets

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend gets weirded out and angry when I hold my kids from a previous marriage in my lap and want her to be close to me at the same time. She says it's "gross and inappropriate."

She acts like I am trying to be sexual with her, but I'm not -- I'm just trying to have her near me while I'm sitting on the couch with my children. She says I should only be affectionate with them and her separately.

Am I the one with the problem here, or what? -- DAD IN LAKEWOOD, WASH.

DEAR DAD: Your girlfriend may feel competitive with your children, or she may have something in her personal history that makes it difficult for her to differentiate between paternal affection and sexual closeness between adults. If you want concrete answers from her, you need to discuss this subject more fully with her so she can explain why she feels the way she does, because it's odd.