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DEAR ABBY: I am a 47-year-old divorced mother of two boys. My ex split four years ago, and for the past two years I've been dating a wonderful man I'll call Ron.

My 80-year-old mother met Ron early on and says she cannot stand him. She can't give me a reason, but insults him to his face, which is every bit as insulting to me. I love Ron and want to marry him, but Mother is making it impossible. She constantly makes demeaning remarks about him to my boys.

Ron is urging me to limit the amount of time the kids and I spend with Mother. However, I am an only child and she never lets me forget I'm "all she has." Abby, I love Ron -- and so do my boys -- but Mom is making all of us miserable. Help! -- CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE IN TEXAS

DEAR CAUGHT: Now is the time to be strong and nip this in the bud. Tell your mother that you and the boys are no longer all she has. She has Ron, too. She can accept him as the man you love and be part of your "one big happy family," or she can risk isolating herself by putting him down and trying to control you. The choice is hers.

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