DEAR ABBY: I'm a 72-year-old married woman. My husband has atypical Parkinson's and can no longer talk or walk.
I exercise six days a week, but I need someone to talk to, to share life with. I tell my husband what I do each day, but of course, there is no feedback. He's at home, and we have 24-hour care.
Can I date? If I explained to him how I need companionship, he might agree. But am I being selfish? This has been going on for six years. I figure I have only 10 productive years left -- maybe fewer. I feel like my life is over. Please help me. I feel like I'm dying. -- REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP
DEAR REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP: I think it would be not only selfish but cruel to tell your husband you need companionship and want to seek another relationship. How would you feel if you were in his position, unable to walk or talk, and he said that to you?
If ever I heard of a person who needs to join a support group, it is you. The American Parkinson Disease Association (apdaparkinson.org) can help you locate one. The toll-free phone number is (800) 223-2732.
As to my giving you permission to date, that's something that should be between you and your conscience or higher power, not Dear Abby.
P.S. Couples who face this kind of diagnosis should have this conversation in advance.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 35 years, and I'm not sure how to respond to some recent developments in our relationship.
Ever since our wedding, I have tried to persuade him to attend church with me, but he always declined, preferring instead to stay home and catch up on his sleep. Both of us are Protestants, so I don't think my denomination was an issue. However, when his older brother moved back to our area a few months ago, my husband decided to attend church services regularly with him and his family. On top of that, he now wants us to have separate Facebook accounts and separate email addresses.
For the most part, I have kept my feelings to myself, but I am worried that my needs are no longer important to him. Do you think I have a reason to be concerned? -- WORRIED WIFE IN WICHITA
DEAR WIFE: Yes, I do. Any drastic change in a spouse's behavior is cause for concern, and his sudden desire to separate his internet activity from yours is another red flag.
Stop keeping your feelings to yourself and speak up. He may be doing something on Sunday mornings besides going to church with his brother.
DEAR ABBY: I was convicted of a crime and did three years on a six-year sentence. My daughter was 2 when I was incarcerated. I was released last year and am currently on parole.
I tried contacting my ex-wife about seeing our daughter and being a part of her life, but I only made things worse. Now she's trying to hide my girl from me. I'm trying my best, but she refuses to put me on child support. What do I do? -- TROUBLED FATHER
DEAR TROUBLED: You may have to take your ex-wife to court. If you're able to afford it, seek advice from an attorney about your options.
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.)