Dear Annie: I love my husband dearly. We have one child, who was not planned. My husband seems to enjoy being a father, but when I told him I want another child, he freaked out. He said he doesn't like "responsibility" and doesn't want any more children.

I'm an only child and don't want my child to be one as well. There's nothing wrong with being an only child, but to this day, I have always been envious of the special relationship siblings have. That bond can never be re-created in other relationships.

I told my husband I wasn't going to be taking birth control anymore so he needed to figure out what he was going to do. He told me he would divorce me if I got pregnant. I don't really believe that, but it's a strong stance. I'd just wait him out, but I have a history of ovarian cysts and tumors and have been told by my doctor that I might need an ovariectomy by the time I'm 30. I'm almost 28 now, so I don't have a lot of time. Any insight? — Ticking Clock

Dear Ticking: Whether or not to have children, and how many, is a major deal-breaker for most marriages. If you become pregnant, your husband may come around, as many fathers do, but you can't know for sure. He may decide to withhold sex or get a vasectomy to make sure there is no pregnancy. We also think it is unfair for him to make a unilateral decision not to have more children knowing how much a larger family means to you. Please find a third party to mediate this — perhaps your clergy or a counselor — and decide if your marriage is as important to you as having another child, because it may come to that.

Dear Annie: Two of my children are getting married next year. My side of the family is quite large. I have more than 60 first cousins, who are married with children. I am not close to all of them, even some in the same family, and my children don't know most of them. I definitely want to invite all my aunts and uncles, and I would like to invite the cousins we know best.

Is it OK to invite some cousins from a family and not others? I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but we cannot afford to invite everyone. Nor will the facility hold so many people. What is the proper thing to do? — Wedding Woes

Dear Wedding Woes: Since your cousins are all grown with their own families and you have individual relationships with each, you may invite those with whom you are close and perhaps put the others on your "B" list. However, if doing this will create a family rift, you might prefer to limit the guest list to your aunts and uncles and have an informal party for the cousins to meet the bride and groom at a later date.

Dear Annie: I'm a full-time college student with a full-time job. I've been dating "Matt" for seven months. He recently had some financial setbacks, which means we often go Dutch. That's fine with me.

The problem is, lately Matt will suggest we go out to eat, only to get to the register holding a wad of money, saying, "This is all I have." Then I end up footing the entire bill. While I understand his reasons, I don't like how he goes about it. I don't want to break up with Matt, so how can I get him to stop taking my money for granted without hurting his feelings? — Feeling Used

Dear Used: Matt shouldn't put you in the position of paying for every date without warning you in advance. He's taking advantage of you. When he suggests going out for dinner or a movie, offer to do something less pricey. Rent a movie and watch it at your place. Go to a museum. Have an indoor picnic. Tell him you know going out can be expensive and you want him to save his money.

Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from "Iowa Editor," who chastised you for recommending craigslist.org as a resource without also mentioning newspaper ads. You said, "If we could figure out how to say 'mea culpa' in plural form, we'd plaster it all over the column."

The plural of "mea culpa" (my fault) is "nostra culpa" (our fault). — Muriel Garcia, Former Teacher of Latin

Dear Muriel Garcia: Thanks for the Latin lesson. We knew we could count on our readers to tell us how to say we were wrong in any language. We hope we don't have to use it too often.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailboxcomcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.