DEAR ABBY: I have saved for two years to take my children -- ages 7, 11 and 13 -- on a dream vacation. My kids have never been on a plane, and they are very excited about the prospect.
The problem is my fiance, "Drew." He wants to come with us. However, he has just admitted to me that he is deathly afraid of flying. He wants us to change our plans and drive instead. It would require an 18-hour drive each way.
The kids will be very disappointed if they have to give up their first flight, and we'd all be miserable spending that much time confined in a car. We'd be tired before we arrived, and worst of all, four days of our one-week vacation would be spent in transit.
I have offered to pay for Drew's gas or train ticket so he can meet us there. I even found the name of a psychologist who specializes in phobias, but Drew won't fly, take a train or see a "shrink."
Drew claims if I "really loved him," I would accept him, fears and all, and return the plane tickets. He also says if we go without him, the engagement is over.
I understand that Drew's fears are very real, and I am sympathetic to his problem. However, I feel it is unreasonable for him to expect us to make such a drastic change of plans to accommodate him -- especially since we are leaving in less than a month.
Am I unsympathetic? -- TRYING TO BE REASONABLE IN RALEIGH
DEAR TRYING: I don't think so. You made an important promise to your children, and it should be kept. A mature individual would understand that and not twist your arm with an ultimatum.
If I were you, I'd take the children on that trip and let the chips fall where they may. Your fiance appears to be controlling and self-centered. He does not have your children's best interests at heart, and his attempts to control you and them show what kind of stepfather he will be. Please think twice about tying the knot with Drew.