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by Abigail Van Buren

In Laws' Six Week Visit Is Too Much Togetherness

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Jay's," parents have informed us they are coming for Christmas and will be staying for six weeks. They need at least three weeks because they're having dental work done by another family member, and it must be staggered.

Long visits are acceptable in their culture, but it usually applies when people visit from another country -– not another state.

The last time they came, they stayed three weeks. It was a stretch for me, but I bit my tongue. I work from home and was with them 24/7 because they don't like to drive. It's hard on me because they get bored and expect me to entertain them. Also, I don't get along well with my father-in-law, and neither of them likes my cooking.

Jay knows six weeks is long, but for him the time goes fast because he works long hours. Jay says he'll talk to his parents about this, but he's miserable at the prospect. Speaking up will cause problems for him, and they'll assume it came from me anyway. They'll be livid. Please tell me what to do. I'm on the verge of tears when I think about what's coming. -- DREADING CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR DREADING: Be a gracious hostess for three weeks. After that, schedule a break. Go visit relatives or, if that's not feasible, check into a motel. You may find that having had a breather, you'll be in a better frame of mind to deal with the in-laws upon your return. You may also find that when the entire burden of entertaining his parents falls upon your husband, he'll encourage them to make shorter visits or other living arrangements in subsequent visits.

P.S. Since they don't like your cooking, have your mother-in-law do it. It will lighten the burden for you and give her something to do.

DEAR ABBY: I am 22, and recently moved here from a different state. Shortly after I arrived, I met an amazing man I'll call Lance. Lance and I met at work and fell for each other instantly.

After we had been dating only a month, I found out that I was pregnant with my ex-boyfriend's baby. Lance was confused when I told him, but after a few days of thinking about it, he told me that the pregnancy didn't change the way he felt about me. We have now been dating more than two months, and Lance continues to be wonderful and supportive.

I'm afraid that since I'm starting to show, Lance will get scared and break my heart. We have had a few serious talks because I feel he doesn't spend enough time with me. Lance contends that he spends more time with me than he does his friends or family. I am in love with him, but I'm afraid that what I originally thought we had together may be "too good to be true." Is this rational, or am I overly emotional because of my pregnancy? -- CONFUSED IN COLORADO

DEAR CONFUSED: You could be hormonal –- or simply extremely needy because you are vulnerable right now. Lance appears to be standing by you to the best of his ability –- and now is not the time to be telling him he isn't measuring up to your standards of companionship. He deserves praise for his loyalty, not criticism for not giving "enough."

If you need more emotional support, I recommend you involve your family. Also, you didn't mention whether your ex-boyfriend knows about his impending fatherhood. Since child support will be partly his responsibility once the baby arrives, it may be time to share news of the blessed event with him.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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