DEAR ABBY: I love my husband of 13 years and our 6-year-old son. They both love me. The problem is, the two of them cannot get along when I'm around. They constantly fight over me. Don't get me wrong, I have loved all the attention I have been getting these last few years, but the jealousy is getting old.
Abby, they fight as if they are siblings. I feel like I am raising two sons instead of having a happy home life. I never tell either one that I love him more than the other. Should I tell my husband that I love him more in front of our son? After all, one day my son will leave home. Would that hurt my son's feelings? Would that help in the conflict? What should I say or do? -- DIVIDED HEART, DECATUR, ILL.
DEAR DIVIDED: Regardless of how much you "loved the attention," you should have nipped this in the bud when it started years ago. It's time for a frank conversation with your husband, telling him in no uncertain terms that it's time for him to grow up and stop acting like a 6-year-old. You are his wife, and the love you feel for him is that of a woman for a man, not that of a mother for her child.
Under no circumstances should you tell your husband in front of your son that you love him "more." Your son does not need to hear that. What he does need to hear is that he is your firstborn child, and because of that he will always occupy a special place in your heart. To say anything else would only cause the rivalry to escalate.
If my advice doesn't resolve this issue, then it's time to call a licensed psychotherapist and schedule some family counseling. Please don't put it off. What's happening in your household is unhealthy for all concerned.