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by Abigail Van Buren

Two of Man's Friends Don't Pass Muster With New Wife

DEAR ABBY: I am a longtime member of the U.S. Air Force who has three college-age sons and a 13-year-old daughter, "Carly." Their mother and I divorced eight years ago. I've done everything I can to stay a part of all their lives. My sons and I get out for an occasional round of golf or watch the game over dinner, but Carly and I have reached a disconnect. We were close until early last summer -- swimming, shopping, vacationing or just hanging out at my house. She and my wife have a good relationship. But something has changed.

Now, when we make plans for a movie or dinner or whatever, Carly makes an excuse at the last minute to break it. I asked her what's going on, but she won't tell me. My wife says it's just her age, but I don't understand why I am the one who gets cut out of her life.

Carly's mother and I don't have the best relationship, and she's not interested in discussing these matters, but she says Carly is "just being Carly." Abby, am I worried about nothing? Is my wife right or could there be another issue? -- STILL A DAD IN THE U.S.A.F.

DEAR STILL A DAD: Stop panicking and listen to the women. Your little girl may have been Daddy's girl until last summer --- but she's a teenager now. It's normal for teens to disengage from their parents and develop interests of their own, so relax and don't push. Let Carly know you're there for her and eventually she'll start coming around again. What you have described is not unusual for girls her age.