DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a parrot that we take with us almost everywhere. It gets a lot of attention and questions from strangers, which I’m usually happy to answer.
You might be surprised how many people own or have owned birds, and many enjoy sharing their stories about the death of their parrot or budgie. (This is often due to neglect, improper care, or breeding.) These stories are often told in a jovial manner, as if they should be amusing or relevant.
It really upsets me that I have to stand there and nod in fake amusement or sympathy. I’m tempted to say something sarcastic, but I refrain.
I love birds and I hate being reminded how disposable they are treated. People don’t tend to share graphic stories about dead dogs, cats or children in public. It makes me sad to hear about their dead birds every time I go out to enrich my own pet’s life.
What can I say to stop this unwanted and depressing narration before it starts?
— BIRD LOVERS IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR BIRD LOVER: Try to be honest and tell these people that hearing about their experience makes you sad and why. That should shut them up.
DEAR ABBY: I’ve been seeing the same man for a year and a half. At first, we were basically friends with benefits, and we were okay with that. Having both recently gone through a breakup or divorce, neither of us wanted anything serious.
However, I started to fall in love with him. He always made it clear that if he didn’t want to go down this path we would sever ties, but the way he was acting indicated that maybe one day there would be more.
After eight months we found out I was two months pregnant. It changed how we both felt about a relationship, but we had some things to work out before we went down that path.
I started therapy – not for him, but because I knew I needed it for myself and, ultimately, our daughter.
We moved in together five months ago, a few weeks before our daughter was born.
Being together with our baby has been wonderful. It made me fall in love with him even more.
When I recently told him I officially wanted to be his wife, he said there were still a few things he wanted me to work on – not personality changes, but things like me being pushy. I admit I can be that way, and impatient too, but I think I wouldn’t be so pushy if he gave me more definitive answers.
What do you think of that?
— READY FOR A REAL RELATIONSHIP
DEAR LOAN: I applaud you for seeing a therapist to resolve your issues. Now, I think it’s time for you and this man to seek couples counseling to determine if you can resolve your differences.
I don’t know if you were really on the same page since the beginning of this relationship. Counseling should help you decide how to move forward now that there is a child involved, because you will be co-parenting for a long time, regardless of which direction your relationship takes.
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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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