DEAR ABBY: I have been with my fiance for six years (engaged for almost two). We have a 4-year-old daughter. During the six years we have been together, he has been employed for only two. He has been trying to start a business for the last two years, but it's still not working. The stress of work, taking care of our child and trying to figure out how to pay the bills is literally killing me. If it wasn't for his mother's help, I would have had a nervous breakdown by now.
I don't know how to get through to him that he needs to step up and figure out how to contribute to our family without him getting defensive. I am burning out fast and on the fence about leaving him. (I am almost there.) My family thinks I would be happier if I just left, but I'd feel guilty about leaving his mother in a bad situation. Any advice?
-- Drained in California
DEAR DRAINED: Think about what is best for your daughter. If you become physically or emotionally sick from stress and cannot work, how will your child be provided for? Suggest your fiance take a part-time job to bring in money, but still allow time for him to develop his business. If he refuses, take your daughter and leave until he gets back on his feet financially.
DEAR ABBY: Our daughter, who is 12, has this idea that when she finishes school, she wants to be a professional gamer. She believes she will make a ton of money at it. I never tell her she can't do something because I want her to know how capable she is. I just would like her to aspire to help mankind in a more worthwhile way.
She is, and always has been, very popular among her peers. She has a likable personality and a kind heart. What can I say to my daughter to help her understand there are so many other things she can do with her life? I have been saving money for her to use as she chooses when she becomes of legal age. I don't want to give it to her unless she develops higher aspirations for herself. What is your best advice?
-- Motivating Mama in New Jersey
DEAR MAMA: Your daughter is 12! (If it is of any comfort to you, when I was her age my "dream" was to be 5'9" and sing the blues standing under a blue spotlight wearing a black velvet dress. I'm 5'2", and my best singing is done in the shower.) I can guarantee that your daughter's aspirations will expand more than once before she's of legal age. In the meantime, "suggest" to her that there are many rewarding ways to succeed in this world, among them the satisfaction one gets from helping one's fellow man (or woman). And encourage her to volunteer and branch out into other areas to expand her possibilities and opportunities.
DEAR ABBY: If you hurt someone's feelings unintentionally, is it necessary to apologize?
-- Did Not Mean To
DEAR "D.N.M.T": Of course it is. It's no different than stepping on someone's foot while being seated in a movie theater.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.