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Dear Abby: Widowed mother's demands push daughter to the limit

DEAR ABBY: My father died this year. My husband and I were his primary caregivers. I was with him until his dying breath.


My father died this year. My husband and I were his primary caregivers. I was with him until his dying breath.

After his passing, Mom asked us to move in so she wouldn't be alone. She has post-polio syndrome, but her biggest problem is her "princess syndrome."

She has trouble getting around, but is able to do some things while I'm at work all day. As soon as I walk in the door, she's all over me to do simple tasks that she could have done during the day.

She complains the house isn't clean enough, or that this and that aren't done up to her standards.

Abby, it was easier to take care of all my dad's needs than it is to take care of hers!

Her day consists of getting up at 10 a.m., watching soap operas and eating herself to more than 300 pounds.

How do I deal with a mother with a major princess complex?

- Not Cinderella

DEAR NOT CINDERELLA: Do it by having a frank conversation with your mother and telling her exactly what you have told me, without labeling her a princess. You should also insist that she be screened by her doctor for depression.

If her demands are more than you and your husband can deliver, then consider moving into a place of your own. However, if your mother realizes that the alternative is living alone, she may be inclined to compromise.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of one year (at the time) was considered by everyone to be the most caring, good husband. But he never wanted to have relations with me.

After several months of investigation, I learned he had been seeing prostitutes. He even admitted to me that when he did have sex with me he was thinking of them.

Fast-forward: I forgave him; we went to counseling.

Abby, he still never wants to have sex with me! When we do, it's because I initiate it.

My self-confidence is shot. He says he "doesn't have a sex drive," so I can either accept him for all the positives - of which there are many - and not have a sex life, or not.

I have considered fulfilling my needs outside the marriage, and giving him the green light to do the same, but he's against it. I'm at a loss as to what to do. Should I just settle and be happy with what I have?

- Wanting More

DEAR WANTING MORE: You are obviously not happy with "what you have." And a man who engages the services of a prostitute does have a sex drive.

You both need to be completely truthful with each other. Once you have reached that point, you will know what to do, and you won't have to ask me to make the decision for you.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have reached an impasse. He says that breakfast, brunch or lunch is an acceptable time to spend with my girlfriends, but dinner is "family time" and should be spent at home with him.

He also says that girlfriends who spend a weekend away together are "up to no good."

I see no problem with it.

What are your thoughts?

- Unsure in the Midwest

DEAR UNSURE: Your boyfriend appears to be insecure, controlling and have a dim view of women.

If you're smart, you will find someone who is less easily threatened by female bonding and let this one go.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.