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Dad struggles to find time to spend with son

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Dear Abby: I am a single 25-year-old man with a 15-month-old son. I didn't plan on having any children, but my son is everything to me. His mother and I did not work out well living together. We had different priorities and personalities and could not comfortably coexist.

I have no ill will toward "Andrea." She's a great person and a phenomenal mom. My dilemma is I constantly regret not working harder to stay with her. I see her new boyfriend with my son and it kills me. I see my son only on my two days off. I wish I could see him more than that, but the only way I could see it happening is if Andrea and I got back together.

Everyone I know says we made the right choice for the three of us, but they may be biased toward my side of the situation. I'm afraid of not being there for my boy like my father wasn't there for me when I was a kid. I don't think 18 hours a week with my child will be enough to prevent him from feeling the same way I did. – Torn Father in Connecticut

Dear Torn: You have some serious thinking to do. Feeling as you do, that you didn't try hard enough to save your relationship, discuss it with your ex and see how she feels about the possibility of a reconciliation.

HOWEVER, while I admire your desire to be a good father, it would be unfair to Andrea to try to get back together only to spend more time with your son. Consider asking her how she'd feel about you having him one night during the week in addition to your days off. Because the breakup wasn't acrimonious, she may welcome the idea and agree.

Dear Abby: I live in a condo complex and am appalled at the disgusting mess some residents leave behind in the laundry room. It's hard to fathom that people are unaware that they are expected to empty the lint screen after using the dryer. My husband says they just don't care.

Why should I have to empty it just so I can use the machine? People also leave the tops and insides of the machines dirty with lint, hair and what looks like mites. Don't you agree that people should wipe the laundry area down if they've left a mess? – Tidy in Northampton, Mass.

Dear Tidy: Whether I agree is less important than whether the board of directors of your condominium association does. Bring this up at the next homeowners meeting and ask that some rules be set and a sign posted in the laundry room "reminding" those who use it to PLEASE be sure the machines are left clean when they are finished using them. I can't guarantee this will eliminate the problem, but it may help.

P.S. If you are correct about seeing mites in the laundry room, the manager should be informed so an exterminator can visit the complex and eradicate the infestation.

Dear Abby: What's the proper response when a woman tells you, "You're a lucky woman to have such a good husband who loves you so much"? That phrase bothers me because I feel it is a slap in my face – like what am I, chopped liver? Am I not worthy of a wonderful marriage and family?

It is usually said by women who are unfamiliar with our lives and the struggles we have both endured since we met each other. Do I say thank you? Smile? Ignore it? I would never tell another woman she is lucky to have her man because I feel it's an insult. Am I overreacting? – He's Lucky, Too, in Colorado

Dear He's Lucky, Too: Yes. The women who acknowledge how lucky you are may be comparing the way your husband treats you in public to the way they are treated by their husbands. Instead of being defensive, smile and say, "I agree. We're lucky to have EACH OTHER."

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.

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