DEAR ABBY: I'm proud to say I always enjoyed a close relationship with my former husband's immediate family. Although we are now divorced, I've remained in frequent contact with my ex-mother-in-law.
The problem is I am in a new and serious relationship with another man, and I'm afraid if I tell him I still communicate with my ex's mother, he'll go berserk. I don't want to anger or hurt him, but feel he should know the truth. Above all, I don't want to sacrifice the friendship I have with my ex-mother-in-law. Please tell me how to handle this situation. -- HOUSTON EX
DEAR EX: Disclose to your gentleman friend the fact that you still have a relationship with the woman, and don't apologize for it. If the romance progresses, it will be very difficult to hide it.
Your letter raises a red flag. If a relationship with your former mother-in-law would truly make him "go berserk," how will he handle other things he might not like about you? Please keep your eyes open and make no rash commitments.
DEAR ABBY: Please help me. I need to know if I should approach another mother about why my 10-year-old son was not invited to her son's birthday party.
We have lived in our close-knit neighborhood for three years. All of the other children on our street were invited, and they told my son all about it at school the next day. Now he feels left out and sad. Until now, he thought he was good friends with the birthday boy.
I know this sort of thing happens, but for a mother to organize a party and knowingly exclude one child doesn't seem right. How should I handle it, Abby? -- SMALL-TOWN MOM IN IOWA
DEAR MOM: By all means ask the mother what happened. Since your son was the only child not invited to the party, shame on her for abetting that kind of exclusion.
However, before approaching the mother, invite the neighborhood children to your home and observe how they interact. There may be a reason your child was not welcome. If he's having relationship or behavior problems, now is the time to give him the social skills he will need for the rest of his life.
DEAR ABBY: "Big Girl in Des Moines" said she felt good about getting results from her diet and exercise program, but complained that her boyfriend had turned into a "food cop." There may be a subtext going on in their relationship. It's possible that he's actually trying to sabotage her weight loss.
I know. My soon-to-be-ex-husband sabotaged every attempt I made to lose weight throughout our more than 20 years of marriage. He was always subtle about it. For instance, he'd tell me I'd been working hard and "deserved a treat" -- or HE needed a treat and then he'd keep offering me "just a bite." It was amazing how suddenly he wanted to eat fatty meals at fast-food restaurants.
My husband worried I would lose so much weight that I'd decide I could do better than him. "Big Girl" should keep her eyes and ears open and stick to her diet. -- SOON-TO-BE-EX IN RENO
DEAR SOON-TO-BE-EX: It's sad that your husband's insecurities were so great that he jeopardized your health and destroyed your marriage. (It seems that the excess weight you had been carrying around was HIM.)
CONFIDENTIAL TO "EXHAUSTED IN MARYLAND": You and the children have suffered far too long. For their sake, listen to your attorney!
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