DEAR ABBY: "Jack" and I have been married 15 years. We have a 10-year-old son, "Cody," who has special needs. Since we first began exploring a diagnosis for our son, I have encouraged Jack to educate himself on the condition. At one point, Jack told me he wasn't interested.
He seldom accompanies us to therapy, although he has taken Cody when I have been sick. We recently had a medical emergency because Jack didn't know what medication Cody was supposed to take. I keep the information written on a list close to the supply cabinet, but he ignored it.
I have long been frustrated by Jack's lack of interest in our son's care. He accepts no responsibility when it comes to discipline, therapy or even personal care tasks.
I will soon be starting a new career, and I'm afraid about Cody's care in my absence. If I broach the subject with Jack, he says I don't give him credit for what he does do. (That's his usual response for anything I try to discuss with him.) We have tried family counseling, which helped only temporarily. Should we go back? I am really at a loss. -- DESPAIRING IN OHIO
DEAR DESPAIRING: Your husband does not appear to have fully accepted that his son is different from other children. That would explain his lack of desire to learn about Cody's condition and his refusal to help with discipline, therapy, personal care or medications. You have my sympathy because you not only have your son to deal with, you have also had to compensate for your husband's retreat into denial.
A return to family counseling might be helpful. However, because you have reason to question the quality of care your son will receive in your absence, the funds might be better spent in finding responsible day care for your boy.
DEAR ABBY: My stepsister, "Maya," and I became best friends during the four years that my mom and her dad were married. We shared a room during visitations and confided in each other about things we couldn't tell anyone else. We were as close as real sisters.
Mom and Maya's dad are now going through a bitter divorce because my stepdad had an affair. They communicate only through their lawyers, and Mom says we can have nothing more to do with "them." I think it's unfair to have the rug pulled out from under us over something that has nothing to do with Maya or me.
Against Mom's orders, I have been keeping in touch with my sister (and I mean that) through text messages and e-mails. If Mom finds out, I'll be in big trouble.
I know Mom has every reason to be angry with my stepdad, but I don't know why Maya and I should have to suffer. Please help. -- MISSING MY BEST FRIEND
DEAR MISSING: I agree that it's unfair that you and Maya should be punished because of the nasty divorce. But right now your mother is hurt and angry, and she's not thinking rationally. Your mother may also be concerned that you might tell Maya something that she doesn't want Maya's father to know.
It might help if you explain your feelings to one of your mother's close friends or another family member who can help you make her understand the situation from your point of view. She may need to be reminded that the world doesn't revolve completely around her, and she's not the only person hurting in this divorce.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)