DEAR ABBY: "Ralph" and I have been married a little over a year. It's the second marriage for both of us. We were both single for six years after our divorces, so we had time to become independent.
Ralph still spends his evenings and weekends the way he did when he was a bachelor. He stays in the garage and watches TV alone. We have talked about it, set up family time, and even bought the large-screen TV he wanted for the living room, but still he hides out in the garage. He comes in only to eat and use the bathroom.
I know Ralph loves me and our new family, but this is causing strain. I have two children from my last marriage, and the younger one feels deeply hurt because my husband spends no time with him. What can I do? I feel alone in this marriage. -- ALONE AND LONELY IN INDIANA
DEAR ALONE AND LONELY: You ARE alone in this marriage. If you married Ralph thinking you could change the way he acted as a bachelor, that you would have companionship and your children would have an attentive father, you may have married the wrong man. If Ralph was happy and at ease, he would not be hiding out in the garage.
Before this goes any further, you and he need to have another frank talk because the status quo is not fair to you or the children. If it doesn't work, then it's time for family counseling, if only so your children won't blame themselves for your husband's shortcomings.
However, I don't expect him to change and neither should you. This is the way he was before you married him, and a leopard doesn't change his spots.