Dear Abby: I’m 14 and for as long as I can remember, my family has never really been “together.” We exist with each other physically, but have never connected in a loving way. I can’t remember my father ever smiling at my mom or being happy. There seems to be an undercurrent of hostility or resentment in our relationships with each other. The lack of love in our house is palpable.
I wonder sometimes what it’s like to eat dinner together at night, and what it’s like to see parents kiss because they love each other — not a stressed, distant, obligated contact.
I finally asked my mother, “Why don’t you ever hug me?” Her answer was, “Because I can’t remember the last time you tried to hug ME.”
I’m crying as I write this. Why doesn’t my mother understand that kindness is necessary and should not be conditional?
Dear Troubled Girl: Your mother may have been raised in a loveless home and not know how to easily demonstrate affection. Or her marriage to your father could be so unhappy that she has shut down.
You are a perceptive girl, and it is understandable that you are “troubled.” But the only person who can answer the question you have asked me is your mother, who appears to need to receive kindness and affection before she will be able to give it. Make an effort to hug her more and the situation may improve. How very sad.
Dear Abby: I’m a 33-year-old man who has screwed up his marriage. I stupidly had a fling with my wife’s 16-year-old cousin and got in trouble for it. I never lied about it because I knew it was wrong, and I am deeply sorry for it. It happened more than a year ago. I ended up serving time in jail.
I love my wife. She is my best friend. We have no kids, just some great dogs and horses. We were very close until I went to jail, and the last day I was in there I got served with divorce papers.
I can’t blame her for how she feels. She says she loves me but she’s too hurt to continue. I love her and I’m devastated that I can’t fix this.
I have known her for 20 years and she means so much to me. I want to save our marriage, and for the last year I have expressed repeatedly how sorry I am. Any advice?
Dear Sorry: Tell your wife (if the divorce isn’t final) that you are willing to do anything to save your marriage, and ask her if she would be willing to go to couple’s counseling with you.
Under the circumstances, her feelings are entirely understandable. If there is any love for you left in her heart, counseling may help to get your relationship back on track. However, if she refuses, you will have to accept her decision and go on with your life, having learned a very expensive lesson.
Dear Abby: I am a 23-year-old gay male who is interested in doing drag. Due to being unable to find work, I am hoping I can turn performing in drag into a source of income. I am not afraid to perform in front of crowds of people, so this could be a good idea. Do you think it is?
Dear Potential Superstar: It’s not a bad idea. Your next step is to audition to see if you have the ability and the looks to succeed.
While drag is a narrow niche of show business, some performers have had successful careers in that area — and you might, too. You’ll never know if you don’t give it a try. I wish you luck.
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.