DEAR ABBY: Due to childbirth, menopause and various surgeries, my breasts aren't what they used to be, so at 54 years of age, I and my husband agree that it's time for me to have breast augmentation. I'm not looking to be another Pamela Anderson; I just want to replace what I've lost so my clothes will fit better.
I'm a bit self-conscious about this and fear the stares, comments and questions from family or friends who think it's their right to ask me about it. What is a tactful response to the comments? -- DIANE IN KESWICK, VA.
DEAR DIANE: You might say, "Why, thank you for noticing," and change the subject. But you should be aware that many women consider breast augmentation to be such an uplifting experience that they feel compelled to share every detail, including "show-and-tell." So don't be shocked if your attitude changes after you have it done.
DEAR ABBY: My wife of five years has three sisters. She is the second oldest, and ever since I have known her, she has felt like she doesn't "belong" in her family. These feelings get worse during holiday get-togethers. She feels isolated by her sisters and her mother.
I thought she would eventually grow out of it, but since they have all had kids, it has only gotten worse. She cries every time we leave her parents' house, and I know it is affecting our son.
What can I do to help her get over these feelings of not being liked or loved by her own family? It is starting to affect our marriage. -- CARLA'S HUSBAND
DEAR HUSBAND: There is nothing you can do to "help" your wife get over the feeling that she doesn't measure up. But there is something SHE can do: start talking to a licensed psychotherapist about her feelings.
Because I do not know the family or their "dynamic," I can't offer a judgment about the validity of her feelings. However, because she is in tears every time she leaves a family gathering, it might be best if you limit your -- and her -- exposure to those relatives, at least for a while.
DEAR ABBY: I am a young single mother of two wonderful children, yet I feel like a part of me is lost. I have been separated for nearly three years and am nearing the finalization of a divorce. There has been only one meeting between us in that time, and I am fine with the divorce. I have considered myself divorced all this time. Yet, the thought of actually signing those papers makes me literally ill.
Why is this? I am no longer in love with him, and I know I'm better off now, alone and making it on my own. Yet the feeling that it is final is haunting me for some reason. -- SCATTERBRAINED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR SCATTERBRAINED: Would it help you feel less "scatterbrained" to know that your feelings are normal? All of them? At one time you committed yourself fully to the man you married and to the dream of "happily ever after." Signing the divorce papers severs your last tie to your husband and closes the door behind you, even though you exited the marriage three years ago.
Please do not be afraid to sign the papers. Look at it from this perspective: One door closes, another one opens, and it is the door to your future. I wish you the best of luck and happiness in the years to come.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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