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by Abigail Van Buren

Eager Mom Jumps the Gun With Early Wedding Plans

DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and have been in a relationship with "Joe" for several years. His mother, "Roxie," is pushy and manipulative. I've seen her blow things out of proportion with other people.

Last night, thinking we had privacy, Joe and I talked about getting married. We were only bringing the subject up –- we have no intention of marrying right now.

Today at work, Roxie called me and said she "overheard" Joe and me talking, and already had someone lined up to bake the wedding cake. She also knows the "perfect place" for our wedding reception –- and she wants me to wear her wedding dress from 35 years ago. I was so shocked, all I could say was, "I'll talk it over with Joe."

Abby, how can I stop her from butting into our lives without starting a conflict? -– WHAT TO SAY IN SAN ANTONIO

DEAR WHAT TO SAY: You and Joe should thank his mother for her generosity and tell her that it was only a preliminary conversation, and that no wedding is yet being planned. Assure her that if things change, she'll be the first to know.

P.S. Instead of feeling defensive, you should be flattered. Her positive reaction indicates how much she approves of you.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old girl who is terrified of going back to public school because of the fear of getting shot. I recently heard on the news that the number of school shootings will increase.

I am being forced to make a decision about going back to public school or staying in home-school. Please help me make the right decision. Your opinion means a lot to me. -- TERRIFIED TEEN, SACRAMENTO, CALIF.

DEAR TERRIFIED TEEN: The problem with fear is that, unchecked, it feeds upon itself and magnifies. While the school shootings of the last few years have received much media attention, the truth is that the vast majority of students in attendance are teens just like yourself -– sane, studious and functional.

You will become completely housebound if you withdraw from society because you are afraid of some lunatic with a gun, because shootings also occur in markets, post offices, banks and on residential streets. Far better to face your fears by talking them out with a professional counselor than to remain in home-school because of a fear of being shot. Please don't wait.

DEAR ABBY: I have two wonderful children. I have been divorced from their father for several years. His current wife –- who is expecting their second child -– is the woman he had an affair with who broke up our marriage.

My problem is whenever I pick up or drop off the kids for visitation, my ex continues to make passes at me. I don't want his new wife to find out because I'm afraid it will cause friction and create more negative impact on my kids. I tell him to stop, but he is still a groping pig. How can I get him to quit? – PINCHED IN POMONA

DEAR PINCHED: Your ex acts like he's convinced he's irresistible. You could remind him that when the two of you were divorced, he lost any right he ever had to touch you –- but I doubt it will dissuade him. A more effective method of self-defense would be to stay out of arm's reach. (Example: inside the car with the windows more than halfway up.)

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

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