DEAR ABBY: Both times I was pregnant, my mother-in-law, "Lois," talked non-stop about how much she wanted a granddaughter -- even after my husband told her we were expecting a boy.
My husband's younger brother's wife recently had a baby girl, and now Lois keeps gushing on and on about how "wonderful" it is to have a granddaughter. She says nothing about the joys of grandsons.
Recently, when the family got together, I "did not feel up to going" to the reunion because I was worried Lois would give all her attention to her granddaughter and ignore my sons. As a result, neither my husband nor our children went to the reunion. I worry about my sons not knowing their grandparents. Any suggestions? -- WONDERING IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR WONDERING: You didn't mention whether your husband has any sisters. It's possible that Lois always longed for a daughter, and this granddaughter is the fulfillment of her dream.
That said, instead of nursing a grudge, or avoiding family reunions because of what you are afraid "might" happen, it's time you and your mother-in-law sorted this out woman-to-woman. While it's possible for a grandparent to favor one child over another, it is wrong to demonstrate it. And if, in the future, she does that, you would be right in limiting her time with the boys. But please don't jump the gun.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 and need some advice. I have tons of friends, but whenever I am around them it seems like I can't be myself. I act like someone totally different from who I really am.
I want to stop acting, but I'm scared they won't accept me for me. I have had a bad past with people. Let's just say that instead of being queen of the school, I was queen of the losers. So now I'm, like, popular, but it sucks because I feel so fake. I love my friends, so I'm hoping if I reveal myself they will accept it. I don't know what to do and would really like to know what you think. -- "FAKE" IN GARDEN GROVE, CALIF.
DEAR "FAKE": I say, go for it. But start slowly in revealing your true self, so your friends will have time to accept the "real" you.
This may seem like a hard choice, but you are paying a high price for your popularity. The way I see it, if you are pretending to be someone you aren't, then your friends aren't really your friends -– they are only friends of the persona you have constructed.
William Shakespeare said it best:
"This above all, to thine own self be true,
"And it must follow, as the night the day,
"Thou can't not then be false to any man."
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a wonderful, intelligent man who is in his 50s. I am 42. We have been talking about marriage after dating only a few short months.
The problem is his incessant phone calls, sometimes up to 20 or 30 a day. If I don't answer, he calls repeatedly until I do.
Abby, I have told him repeatedly that I hate being called at work so many times, but he continues. Is he obsessive, or is it love like he says? -- BUGGED BEYOND BELIEF, ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL.
DEAR BUGGED BEYOND BELIEF: What you have described is not love; it's insecurity. This "wonderful, intelligent man" is not only obsessive, but also so absorbed with his own needs that he has no concept of what yours are -– even after being told. The incessant phone calls at work and his premature marriage proposal are both warning signs that you could be involved with a potential abuser. I urge you to step back and look at him from a different perspective before making any commitments.
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