DEAR ABBY: My husband committed suicide 2 1/2 years ago. We had been married for 13 years and had two daughters who are now 15 and 9. The l5-year-old seems to be doing fine. The 9-year-old is not.
But my biggest problem is my live-in boyfriend, "Tim." While I love him and mostly enjoy his company, he appears to dislike my 9-year-old. She needs male attention because her dad was an attentive, wonderful father. I have discussed this with Tim. His response is he has a hard time doing it because she is "totally out of control and crazy."
Abby, she is none of that. She is a child with a lot of energy. I don't know what to do. I know it isn't fair to my daughter, but I'm lonely and miss Tim when he's not there. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me. -- TRYING TO MOVE ON IN OHIO
DEAR TRYING: I am so sorry for your loss. However, parents get only one chance at parenting, which is why it's so important to do it right the first time. What is happening in your household is unfair to your daughter. She should not be forced to live with a man who doesn't like her and can't give her positive reinforcement. That's why, for her sake, it would be better for you and Tim to live apart. If you choose him over your daughter, you will later regret it and could cause her serious emotional problems for decades.