Deadbeat dad needs to step up to the plate

Posted: April 23, 2013

DEAR ABBY: My 14-year-old son, "Nils," recently joined a sport he really enjoys. His stepdad and I are at every practice, helping the coaches and coaching my son along.

Nils recently commented to me that he would like it if his father could come and see him practice. I took it upon myself, as I usually do, to call my ex, "John," and suggest he make an appearance, because it would make our son happy.

My husband, who has been a wonderful stepdad to Nils for 13 years now, told me I should leave it alone. He said if John was a "real" father, he would just show up without being asked.

When things like this happen, should I leave it alone, or should I ask John to be involved more than he tries to be? I tell my ex about all of our son's activities, and sometimes he just doesn't show.

- Trying to be a Good Mom

DEAR TRYING: Not knowing your former husband, I can't guess his reason for not coming to your son's practices, particularly if he said he was going to attend. John may be irresponsible, or he may have unforeseen scheduling conflicts. By telling him about your son's activities and letting him know his presence is wanted, you have done your job as a conscientious mother. At 14, Nils is old enough to also call his father and invite him. The rest is up to your ex.

DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing "Duane" for two months. He's kind, good-looking, successful, smart and fun. He's also apparently quite proud of his astonishingly hairy chest because he always wears his shirts unbuttoned nearly to his navel. When we're in public, you can see people react. Sometimes they point and whisper.

I gently raised the issue, but he didn't seem to think it was a big deal. I like him, but I'm embarrassed sometimes. Any thoughts? - Blushing in San Francisco

DEAR BLUSHING: Yes. Your friend is suffering from overexposure. When strangers point and whisper, what they're saying is usually no compliment. Because Duane's decolletage embarrasses you, give him a choice: Button up or mow the "lawn."

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