DEAR ABBY: When I first met my husband of two years, "Phil," he owned his own home, kept it spotless and his yard neat, prepared his own meals and did his laundry. Those qualities made him stand out from the many spoiled "Mama's boys" I had dated in the past.
Now that we're married it's like he has amnesia. He has "forgotten" how to operate the washing machine, scrub a toilet or wash a dish. He hasn't cleaned the bathroom once since our wedding, washes only one load of laundry a week (his own work uniforms) and performs other domestic tasks only if I ask repeatedly. I don't enjoy nagging him.
I teach school and attend graduate school at night, so I'm just as exhausted at the end of the day as he is, even though his labor is more physical. I know this problem is nothing new, but I am hoping you can offer some insight or advice. Why do so many men feel entitled to flop on the couch every night and expect us women to trudge through the housework into the wee hours?
— NOT THE MAID IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR NOT THE MAID: Probably because that's what they saw their mothers do, and whether it's conscious or not, they consider housework to be "women's work." However, a lot has changed over the last generation, and your mother-in-law deserves credit for equipping her son to be independent after he left her nest.
Because so many couples are both employed today, many husbands and wives share housekeeping responsibilities. And because you yourself are working the equivalent of two jobs, that's what you and your husband should be doing. Of course, that won't happen until and unless you're willing to put your foot down and impress upon him that you married him to be his partner — not his maid — and that if he wants a happy marriage, he's going to have to pull his share of the load.
DEAR ABBY: I'm worried about my 14-year-old granddaughter. She's a good soccer player and frequently "heads" the soccer ball. I think this could be harmful to her brain.
I have spoken to two coaches about it; they say I shouldn't worry. But I saw on the Internet that chronic traumatic brain injury has occurred in soccer and football players. What do you think? Should I pursue this concern?
— GRANDMA AND NURSE IN HOUSTON
DEAR GRANDMA: What do your granddaughter's parents have to say about this? Surely, she is not participating in a team sport without their written permission. That said, because everything one reads on the Internet isn't necessarily accurate, if you wish to pursue this, I'd recommend you start by talking to a licensed medical professional.
DEAR ABBY: I have been infatuated with a co-worker for more than a year. The problem is, he knows it and is reluctant to become more involved because we work together. We flirt constantly. We're good friends and talk almost daily about things that go way beyond work.
Everyone here knows we have a thing for each other. How do I cross over without risking our friendship? We're both single and unattached.
— INFATUATED IN DOWNEY, CALIF.
DEAR INFATUATED: More than a few romances have started in the workplace, if there is no company policy forbidding fraternization, so why not ask him to join you for dinner one evening? I can't see how that would be a risk to your friendship. His response will tell you whether or not he's just an office flirt who enjoys the sexual tension and prefers to leave things as they are.
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.