DEAR ABBY,

Two years ago, I had a miscarriage. The guy was nothing more than a fling. We were careful and never did anything without protection, but it happened anyway.

I have now been in a relationship with a really great guy for four months. I said I wanted to take it slow, and he has been very supportive, but we are both getting antsy to move to the next step of intimacy. My problem is, I can’t seem to stop having anxiety attacks when I think about the possibility of getting pregnant again, even using two forms of birth control. Neither of us wants kids now or in the future. How do I get past this fear?

— WORRIED WYOMINGITE

DEAR WYOMINGITE,

A way to do that would be to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what your options would be for using a long-term form of birth control such as a slow-release implant or an IUD.

If your state had a Planned Parenthood clinic nearby, I would normally recommend going there. However, when I checked online, I was shocked to discover there is no longer a clinic in your entire state, which means you may have to go as far as Colorado to find one.

This woman makes me sigh

DEAR ABBY,

I am increasingly frustrated with a colleague’s daily demeanor. She’s a supervisor in my department, although I no longer report directly to her. But my office is adjacent to hers, and I see her frequently.

Every day when she arrives, I greet her with my standard, “Good morning, how are you?” and she replies with a heavy sigh and some vague remark about how tired she is or some other general complaint. Even if I don’t ask about her welfare, she will still offer the same negative remarks. She does this with other co-workers as well. Is there an effective response I can offer that would help her to reframe, or at least stop with the heavy martyrdom?

— TIRED OF HEARING IT

DEAR TIRED,

Because she constantly volunteers (with a heavy sigh) that she’s “tired,” consider pointing out that she has been saying this same thing for a long time and suggest she consult a doctor about it. The one thing you should definitely stop doing is personalizing it the way it appears you do.

Dontcha know there’s a pandemic?

DEAR ABBY,

My husband, a successful attorney, and I are in our 50s and have been married 10 years. He is an educated man. The problem,

He does not like to wash his hands.

I often ask him to please wash his hands when he exits the bathroom, but he refuses. He sees no problem with it. He also has no problem sticking his bare hands in the candy jar or any other dish with food in it. Not only is this unsanitary, but I find it disgusting.

What are your thoughts? I’ve done away with the candy jar, but this happens at dinner, too.

— IT’S ALL A WASH

DEAR WASH,

Your husband should wash his hands after using the bathroom, if only out of respect for your feelings. That he refuses speaks volumes about him. I would suggest having sanitary wipes on your dinner table, but he would probably refuse to use them.

Doing away with the candy dish was smart. Now it’s time to plate your husband’s food for him in the kitchen so that his fingers won’t touch the communal food. And if he pitches a fit, plate your own so he can’t touch it.

Time to get in ship shape

DEAR ABBY,

My husband and I have been married 30 years. I recently retired, and we are planning a cruise to Europe and a two-month stay, returning on the same cruise line. The cruise line is rather posh, and travelers are asked to “dress appropriately” — which means, essentially, men should wear a jacket to dinner (no tie required).

My husband is balking at the idea he should have to wear a jacket on his vacation and now says he won’t go. Abby, we have already invested several hundreds of dollars in deposits, so what do I do? I’d rather not spend 14 days at sea with a husband whining over wearing a jacket for 30 minutes a day and end up dining alone (we reserved a table for two so we wouldn’t be stuck making small talk). We are cruising because he will not fly.

— TEXAS MATRIMONIAN

DEAR MATRIMONIAN,

You have already accommodated your husband by booking a cruise instead of flying. Could his problem be that his jackets no longer fit him? If that’s the case, buy him one that does. However, if his objection is that he really doesn’t want to GO, why not take your husband up on his offer to stay home and ask one of your girlfriends to accompany you? Then all three of you might have a better time.

This isn’t a hotel, sir

DEAR ABBY,

I am 61 and dating a 63-year-old man, “Charles.” I live in my own apartment, pay my own bills, and I like and enjoy life. Charles is constantly over at my apartment and ends up falling asleep for hours at a time. It irritates me when he sleeps six, seven and even eight hours at my place. I feel he has a place of his own, and he should be doing that there.

He has told me numerous times that he doesn’t feel safe at his apartment because of the neighborhood. He says that is why he is spending time with me. I like my alone time, which I don’t have often. Prior to him, I wasn’t in a relationship for seven years.

I feel that Charles is needy. Am I being unreasonable? I don’t think I am, and it always ends up in an argument. If you could please give me some advice, I would appreciate your input.

— GIVE ME SOME SPACE

DEAR SPACE,

Wake up and smell the coffee. Charles told you he spends all that time with you because he doesn’t feel safe in his apartment, NOT because he loves your company so much he cannot stay away. What did he do before he met you?

From where I sit, it appears he’s angling to move in. It isn’t unreasonable to want your own space, particularly if you are the one paying for it, while he snores away the hours. If the status quo isn’t what you want, it is up to you to change it.

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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