DEAR ABBY: I am at that age when most of my friends and colleagues are having children. I suffered a miscarriage (my first pregnancy) a few months ago, and I have been feeling depressed and helpless about the situation.
We are seeing a fertility specialist, so I am positive about our chances. However, when my husband and I are invited to attend functions with friends, I have been declining because one of his friends recently announced her pregnancy. I have become extremely withdrawn, jealous and anti-social. Is it normal for me to feel this way? I would love to be sociable and happy, but it's hard. -- BABY JEALOUS IN MARYLAND
DEAR BABY JEALOUS: It's normal to feel some jealousy when those around you seem to experience something easily that you are struggling with. However, to isolate yourself because of it is self-defeating.
It could help you to talk this through with a licensed therapist. You are not alone in having these feelings, and the therapist can give you tools to help you cope. Ask your fertility specialist for a referral. I'm sure you won't be the first patient to do that, and it might bring you comfort.
DEAR ABBY: My issue is related to celebrations with my in-laws. They are both retired.
At holiday time, we suggest that we pick up something to eat on the way, but they always tell us they already have stuff ready to cook. The problem is, we have gotten food poisoning in their home twice because of undercooked chicken. We have a 16-month-old son, and my in-laws are offended because we won't let him eat from their table and always bring his own food.
After the first bout, my husband asked them if they had a food thermometer. They said they did not, so we bought one for them. The second time -- on Easter -- was horrible.
My husband doesn't want to say anything to them because they are good to us and generous to our son. But I can't see myself ever eating at their house again. Help, please. What do we say to them? -- GRATEFUL, BUT ...
DEAR G.B.: What you say is that you and their son have gotten food poisoning twice at their house because of undercooked chicken. Twice is enough. From now on, invite them to your home for holiday dinners.
DEAR ABBY: I've been married for more than 50 years to a man I love with my whole being. But for years I've heard people say about their spouse, "I love him dearly, but I am not in love with him."
Would you please explain what this means? What's the difference? -- JUST GOTTA ASK IN ARIZONA
DEAR JUST GOTTA: I think the phrase means different things to different people. To some it indicates that the excitement, those "fires of passion," may have cooled to a simmer and been slowly replaced by a calmer and deeper kind of affection. To others it may mean they weren't deeply in love in the first place.