DEAR ABBY: My niece "Jane" is married to "John," who doesn't want children. Before she met John, Jane always loved children. She says he was traumatized by the toxic relationship between his parents and their subsequent divorce. John's father told him often that he and his siblings caused the divorce.
John refuses to have a vasectomy, despite the fact he doesn't want children, and insists that Jane use an IUD to prevent a pregnancy. I think it's the height of selfishness. Three of my closest friends married men who didn't want children. After age 40, they were all divorced. The men then went off, married younger women and all of them have several children. My girlfriends express extreme bitterness over being childless.
Abby, I'm afraid Jane will meet this same fate. Should I talk to her about my concerns? And what do you think about John's unwillingness to get a vasectomy? — DISAGREEING IN DALLAS
DEAR DISAGREEING: What John's father did by denying his own part in his divorce and placing the blame on his children was unconscionable. It was also a lie. Children do not cause divorces — their parents do.
If you want to maintain a close relationship with your beloved niece, you should not only NOT meddle in her marriage, but also keep your nose out of their sex life. John may be unwilling to have a vasectomy not because he is selfish, but because he is afraid of the pain (the procedure is not painless) or because he mistakenly fears it will make him "less of a man." But, ultimately, he should take the necessary steps to prevent a pregnancy, because he's the one who wants to remain childless.
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DEAR ABBY: As were most kids of the '80s, I was raised to think drugs are bad. Now, however, I live in a state where marijuana is legal. My job doesn't allow me to partake, nor do I have any interest in doing it.
The problem is I invited my on-again, off-again long-distance boyfriend to visit. He says he has every intention of getting high, despite knowing my stance and discomfort. He says marijuana helped him recover from surgery and helps him sleep, and he just wants to get high. We clearly have two different opinions that will likely never be the same.
He's my best friend and the easiest person for me to talk to. Is there any hope for us or should we go back to being strictly friends? He said I can retract my invitation to visit if I choose. Do I allow him to visit and get high, or move on? I just don't understand the lure of marijuana. — CONFUSED IN COLORADO
DEAR CONFUSED: I'm not going to use this forum to debate the pleasures or the perils of marijuana. If your on-again, off-again boyfriend is unwilling or unable to respect your wishes, recognize that what is a small problem now may take on larger proportions as you continue your involvement with him. Much has been written about marijuana, both pro and con. If you haven't already done so, it might benefit you to go online and read some of the current research. After that, if you still feel as strongly as you do, retract the invitation.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.