DEAR ABBY: Lately I have been having problems with my live-in boyfriend, "Ethan." We fight about everything, and he refuses to admit when he's wrong. Ethan has been sleeping on the couch for a week waiting for me to take the first step and reconcile.
He isn't working and I am, and that is probably what has him so mad. I pay all the bills, and he thinks I feel superior because I'm bringing in money and he's not.
We argue day and night, swear and scream at each other, and he does not appreciate everything I'm doing so we can survive. I have two daughters, he has one, and I'm supporting all of us.
Do you think it's a good idea for us to have a baby? Ethan is desperate for a child with me -- even though we can't get along or communicate. -- MARY JANE IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR MARY JANE: Not only do I think it's not a good idea, but I think it's a terrible idea. Babies are expensive, and you're already carrying a heavy load. I suspect that Ethan thinks a baby will fix what's wrong in your relationship, but he's wrong. Don't do it! It would be a huge mistake.
DEAR ABBY: In the summer of 1995, I was a 12-year-old girl living in a motel in a suburb of Cleveland with my mother, older brother and younger sister. We were poor and very hungry.
My mother led my younger sister and me to a doughnut shop for our only meal of the day. After waiting for everyone to leave, my mother approached the young woman behind the counter and asked to buy some doughnuts with our foreign coins. It was the only money we had.
Instead of turning us away, she told my mother: "We're allowed to give away a certain number of free doughnuts every day. Just tell me what you want." (I don't know if this was true.) It was because of her kindness that my family ate that day.
If that kind woman is reading this, I want to say: "Thank you. You made the hunger go away for just a little bit, so a mother and her children could go a day without pain. You remain forever in a little girl's heart." -- URSALA IN MESSINA, ITALY
DEAR URSALA: I, too, hope your benefactor sees your letter. Her generosity that day provided nourishment not only for your bodies, but also for your faith in the humanity of others -- and I am sure you have emulated her example in the years that have followed. After all, isn't that what acts of kindness are all about?
DEAR ABBY: Once a year I invite my mother, who lives in Arizona, to visit me in California. This year, Mom has decided to bring one of my sisters along because "she really needs a vacation."
My sisters live in the same city as Mom and can visit her anytime they please. I see Mom once a year at most, and I do not want to share my limited time with her. How do I let my sisters know they're not welcome without causing a family rift? -- WANTS QUALITY TIME WITH MOM
DEAR WANTS: You shouldn't have to tell your sisters. The person you need to tell is your mother, who should not have invited anyone without clearing it with you first. Because you're having trouble with what to say to her, read her the second paragraph of your letter to me. She may have been well-meaning, but she was misguided.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)