DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 and have a 6-month-old daughter who is my everything. Her father is 16, and he does drugs and drinks. He says he loves me and the baby, but given the choice, he'd rather be stoned or drunk at his friends' houses than see his daughter.
I want him involved in our lives, but the only time he sees us is when I take the baby to his house. I won't allow my daughter to spend the night with him because he smokes, and so does the rest of the family. I need your help. I don't know what to do. -- TEEN MOMMY IN ILLINOIS
DEAR TEEN MOMMY: It appears your baby's father is in no condition to be a parent in any sense of the word. What you're going to have to do is grow up quickly and realize that at the rate he's going, he has no future.
Teenagers who spend their time drinking and drugging can't study, can't work and can't hold a job. Whether your baby's father will even graduate from high school is questionable. That is why it is doubly important for you to apply yourself to your studies and get all the education you can -- because the odds are great that you will be supporting your daughter emotionally and financially until she's an adult.
Some schools offer programs for teen mothers and dads. I urge you to reach out and find out what is available in your community.
DEAR ABBY: Now that I have retired after working long and hard to provide for three kids, life was supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable. The problem is, my relationship with my wife has become strained.
We don't seem to agree on anything. I find her annoying to be around, and she feels the same about me. This leads to arguments, and after 35 years of marriage, I confess that for the first time I don't feel the love for her that I used to. I believe she feels the same way. (At least we agree on something.)
Is this common? Is it repairable? If not, then walking the straight and narrow to reach the golden years was a fool's error. -- OUT TO PASTURE IN MICHIGAN
DEAR OUT TO PASTURE: What you are describing is not at all uncommon. The good news is, it is fixable, but it will take effort on the part of both you and your wife.
It might help your marriage if you went out into the community and volunteered some of your time. I'm sure a man with your energy and intellect would be welcomed with open arms. And you and your wife should join some social groups together so you can start enjoying each other again. If that doesn't bring some improvement, then please consider marriage counseling before you throw in the towel.
DEAR ABBY: Whenever I go out with my friend "Tara," she is ALWAYS 15 to 30 minutes late. Regardless of where we are going or what we'll be doing, she makes me wait.
I am a busy person. Tara does not work. She will call to let me know she'll be late, but still I have to wait. She does this with other people, too.
I am so fed up with waiting for her that I have reached the point of no longer being willing to do it. What can I do about her inconsiderate behavior? -- ON THE DOT, MONROE, LA.
DEAR ON THE DOT: Give your friend a sweet, but firm warning. Tell her that when you make a date with her, you expect her to be ready at the appointed time -- and if she's not, you will leave without her. Then follow through.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)