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DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter is married to a very selfish man. They have a newborn baby, and he refuses to help her with the baby. He claims that because he works, he isn't obligated.

She cares for the baby 24/7 and does all the housework, cooking, etc. If she asks him to feed the baby in the morning, he says, "I'M hungry, so I have to have my breakfast first," and he lets the baby cry. He also refuses to change a diaper.

What can she say or do that might encourage him to change his ways? It is unfair to her to work 24/7 like this, and she is EXHAUSTED. -- STEPGRANDMA IN ISRAEL

DEAR STEPGRANDMA: I agree the treatment your daughter is receiving is unfair. That her husband would eat while his infant is crying for food is beyond insensitive; it's neglectful and cruel. She should not expect this man to change his attitude. This is who he is, and he not only won't change, his self-centeredness will become worse with time.

If you can take in your grandchild -- and your stepdaughter -- and give her a chance to get some rest, please consider it. And while she is with you, point out that this will be her future as long as she remains with her husband.


DEAR ABBY: I have the most wonderful, caring, loving husband any wife could dream of, and together we have a very sweet dog who adores us both but my husband a bit too much, if I may put it that way. When my husband is relaxing on the couch, "Peanut" likes to, umm, "love on" his leg.

I know this is something dogs do, and I have read that it's a way to establish the alpha, but my husband doesn't dissuade her from this "loving" behavior. I find it disturbing, not so much because Peanut does it, but because my husband doesn't mind or even likes it. Is this normal? -- OTHER ALPHA IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR OTHER ALPHA: According to the ASPCA website, what Peanut is doing is normal behavior for animals of both sexes, including those that have been spayed or neutered. Your husband's acceptance of it, in my opinion, is less so.


DEAR ABBY: I know a man who is a wonderful person, but he has a habit that is very disturbing. He gets angry when I laugh. He says I shouldn't be laughing because he thinks what I'm laughing at isn't funny.

I used to start a phrase with, "The funny thing is," meaning strange or odd, and he would cut me off saying, "I don't see why you think that's funny." I have since changed the phrase to "The odd thing is" to keep the peace. How can I handle this without creating a scene or argument? It is annoying when we are alone and embarrassing when we are in public. -- UNFUNNY IN TEXAS

DEAR UNFUNNY: I am sure it's embarrassing. "Wonderful" people do not correct others in public. They wait and do it privately. This person may have redeeming qualities, but tact and a sense of humor are not two of them. If telling him you don't like what he's doing and that it's inappropriate will cause a scene or an argument, my advice is to reevaluate the relationship.

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