DEAR ABBY: Our family has had a difficult year. We have gone from one drama or trauma to another, but have always managed. There's one issue, however, that I can't fix. My husband, "Arthur," can't keep our problems private. He seems compelled to tell EVERYONE he meets about what's going on in our family.
I have told Arthur repeatedly, "What happens at home should stay at home," and begged him not to take our problems to the neighbors, who have enough of their own. It's embarrassing when our friends, neighbors and extended family are informed about the dramas going on in our home. But Arthur becomes defensive when I tell him I don't like it and says he won't stop — that I'm being "too sensitive."
Abby, I feel my husband's blabbing is disloyal. I'm worried that he is ruining our reputation because he can't keep his mouth shut. Please help.
— TOWN CRIER'S WIFE
DEAR WIFE: Your husband may be looking for attention or sympathy. He also appears to lack good judgment and impulse control, and does not understand what consequences his "blabbing" might bring.
However, I can't muzzle him and neither can you. It may bring small comfort to remember that these days people are so preoccupied with their own problems they are likely to be less judgmental about your drama and trauma.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother finishing my undergraduate degree in English. I have a 6-year-old son. His father, "Gil," and I are on great terms. We kept everything out of the courts, and he pays me monthly child support. Gil sees our son whenever he likes, which is often.
I have an opportunity to go to law school 200 miles away, and I'm considering leaving my son with his dad to do so. I have no problem taking him with me, but as parents we thought that uprooting our son for three years was not a good idea.
I am doing this for my son. I come from a poor family, and I am the first to graduate from college. A liberal arts degree won't afford me much in the future. Gil's income is "fair," but neither of us has any real security.
I trust Gil when he gives me his word on an agreement. Many of my friends are supportive, but some of the stay-at-home moms are making me feel like a terrible person and mother. Would I be selfish to do this or should I continue with my plans for a better income and career?
— GNAWING UNCERTAINTY IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR UNCERTAIN: Stop listening to the criticism and proceed with ensuring a bright future for you and your boy. As long as you can spend time with your son during school breaks and during the summer months, I see no reason why you should not get your law degree. But there should be a clear written agreement between you and Gil that the arrangement is only temporary, and it's important your son understand that your absence is not because he has done anything to cause it.
And now, Dear Readers, I am pleased to continue the tradition of offering the Thanksgiving Prayer that was penned by my dear mother, Pauline Phillips. No Thanksgiving would be complete for me without it.
Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
— Love, ABBY
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.