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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem with my mother-in-law. She does not communicate directly with me about family activities. Everything goes through my husband, who often does not tell me right away. He doesn't remember details, and sometimes he forgets completely.

There have been many times I have found out about something at the last minute. Once there was a family get-together, and when I arrived I found out that during this gathering the women had planned to give a baby shower for one of my husband's sisters. I was the only woman without a gift.

There have been countless other miscommunications and mishaps because of this. I've expressed my feelings to my husband and to my mother-in-law, to no avail. She continues to notify only my husband.

I have married brothers and I always discuss social plans with their wives, because my brothers are just like my husband.

This has been going on for many years, and I find myself resenting my mother-in-law more and more. Maybe if you print this, she will see it.

What can I do to change the situation? -- MOTHER-IN-LAW PROBLEMS

DEAR MOTHER-IN-LAW PROBLEMS: Since your mother-in-law ignores your requests, bypass her and develop a better level of communication with your sisters-in-law. Ask them to keep you posted so you have a chance to make appropriate preparations for upcoming events.

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Living a Lie," who couldn't decide if he should tell his girlfriend that he had decided to acknowledge his homosexuality or let her believe that he had decided to behave in a straight manner so that they could get married and have a family.

As a gay divorced father who has been there, I strongly advise him not to get married just so he can have the house, kids, station wagon and the family dog. (She would end up getting them all when they divorce later on, and he would still be without what he wants.) I, too, wanted all these things and got them, but I was not happy.

The things he mentioned will not bring him happiness if he is not in a relationship that is physically and emotionally satisfying. I found true happiness only after accepting who I am and started living the life that I was ordained to live. He should be honest with her and tell her he wants to continue to have her as his best friend, but he also wants to be true to his nature and find a gay man with whom he can share his life.

Being gay does not mean that he can't have what he wants. Many gay couples have the house, station wagon and the family dog, and some even have children. Happiness can be found only by being true to yourself and those whom you love. -- GAY AND HAPPY

DEAR ABBY: We are thrilled that you printed information on our National Eye Care Project. After your column appeared, we received more than 3,500 calls to our helpline for information, and referred the majority of callers to volunteer ophthalmologists for eye examinations.

If you stop to think that for even 1 percent of these callers our program may mean the difference between sight and premature blindness, you'll share our excitement. But in fact, many more needy seniors have their vision saved.

Again, thank you so much. Your work can really make the connection between a problem and a solution for vast numbers of people. -- B. THOMAS HUTCHINSON, M.D., CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL EYE CARE PROJECT, SAN FRANCISCO

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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