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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Is Left on the Sidelines by Daughters and Stepmother

DEAR ABBY: I'm recently married to my second wife. We have a great relationship, but I feel like she has a better relationship with my two daughters than I do. They do everything together, and my daughters don't want to do anything that includes me.

Part of me is grateful they have such a great relationship, but I'm also jealous that my relationship with them is not as good as hers. Should I say something? I don't want to ruin what they have, but I feel neglected. Am I being selfish? Should I just ignore it and get a hobby or something? -- ENVIOUS IN THE EAST

DEAR ENVIOUS: I wish you had mentioned how old your daughters are. I see nothing to be gained by not discussing this with your wife. Parenting is not supposed to be a contest.

Your daughters may not mean to exclude you, but may assume you wouldn't be interested in the things they are doing or discussing. (I'm thinking of things females like to do together.) If you let them know you're sincerely interested in joining in some of their activities, you may be surprised at how quickly they include you. Also, set a standing (monthly) breakfast or lunch date -- just you and your daughters -- so you can spend some quality time together.

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