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DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Van," and I have been married 10 years. He's 40; I'm 33. Our daughter just turned 7. Shortly after she was born, Van informed me he didn't want to have more children. He said he was happy with just one. It was hard for me to accept, but eventually I came to peace with his decision.

Recently, he began talking about wanting another child. I was, of course, very excited. After much discussion we decided we would start trying last April, but when the time came, he confessed he'd had a change of heart. He said he's getting too old to have a newborn, and worries about how old he'll be once the child is grown, etc.

I respect and understand his reasoning, but I'm having trouble moving past my disappointment. I spent so much time trying to accept that we wouldn't have more kids, having the opportunity again was a dream come true. I don't want to pressure Van into changing his mind, but I'm starting to resent him. Our daughter has said she'd like a sibling, too. Abby, what to do? -- HEARTBROKEN IN GEORGIA

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Under the circumstances, your resentment is understandable. Your husband should not have raised your hopes if he was ambivalent about something you want so badly. Couples counseling might help you to overcome your disappointment or, if he would consent to it, help him to work through his fears about becoming a father again. Forty is not over the hill, and many men have added to their families at that age.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce

Gift-Giving Tit for Tat Is Uncalled For

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have two kids under the age of 2. Our close friends "John and Jane" also have two kids under 2.

We recently invited them to our oldest daughter's birthday party. When they arrived, Jane informed me they hadn't had time to shop for a gift and that they "owed us one." I brushed it off and said I was just happy they came.

Well, now it's their older daughter's birthday. We are invited and I'm confused. Do we still buy her a gift? We want to go, but we feel ripped off because our daughter received nothing. Would it be rude to attend the party without buying their daughter a gift? -- RIPPED OFF IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR RIPPED OFF: Yes, it would. You say these are close friends. John and Jane may not have followed up with a gift for your daughter because you told them you were "just happy they came," so don't hold it against them. If this happened repeatedly, my advice might be different, but this may simply have been an oversight.

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