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by Abigail Van Buren

Pregnancy Changes Dynamic of Women's Friendship

DEAR ABBY: I'm in my late 20s, married and happily child-free. My best friend recently became pregnant, and I am having a hard time with it. I don't enjoy children, and it feels like I am losing my best friend. All she wants to talk about is the baby. I've tried hinting that I'll be here when she and her husband need a break from being "Mom and Dad," but she continues to talk on and on about the all-consuming baby.

I know this is a big change and a huge part of her life, but I also know she has plenty of other support for this child. I would hope she realizes that I do not care for children or wish to be around them. How can I let her know -- without offending her -- that the last thing I want to hear about are diapers and prams? -- CHILD-FREE IN WISCONSIN

DEAR CHILD-FREE: I am sorry you feel so negative about the topics of babies and children, because your intolerance will eventually isolate you from friends and peers. If you voice what you are thinking, you will alienate your best friend, who is rightly thrilled to be embarking on the adventure of parenthood.

Because her talk about babies, diapers and the process she's going through affects you like nails on a chalkboard, limit the conversations and visits you have with her. Do not write her off, however, because it is possible that in time she will be reaching out to you, craving conversation that goes beyond the playpen.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: As the pandemic has forced many to work remotely, I feel certain I'm not the only person with this dilemma. I have been working from home since last March. My fiance, on the other hand, has a manual labor job in a skilled trade. Abby, it seems like every other day he picks a fight with me because he thinks I should have the house clean, chores done and dinner cooked when he returns from work, despite the fact that I have been working at my job all day.

He equates my being home to me being able to take care of all the chores. He criticizes me and calls me lazy and other names all the time. Regardless of what he thinks, I have a demanding job in an IT field, which is no less demanding because I'm home. It involves numerous conference calls all day.

I have an opportunity now where some of us can come back to the office, but because I have an autoimmune disease, I'm hesitant. Should I go back to the office to keep the peace or remain working from home, which I actually enjoy? I have talked to him about this repeatedly, and it not only doesn't seem to be getting any better, it's getting worse. Your thoughts? -- TELECOMMUTING IN FLORIDA

DEAR TELECOMMUTING: Your physical health must come first. If returning to the office will endanger your health, you must stay home and protect it.

Your mental health comes next. Your fiance appears to be having a chauvinistic fever dream in which he has been transported back to the 1950s. For the last quarter of a century -- and more -- men have been helping their partners with the "chores" he's harassing you about. If he can't dig deep and find it in his heart to chip in, then for the sake of your health and your sanity, please rethink this engagement, because it is unhealthy.

Read more in: Work & School | Covid 19 | Love & Dating | Health & Safety | Mental Health

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)