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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Maintains Friendships With Daughter's Old Beaus

DEAR ABBY: From the time when I was a teen, whenever a romance of mine ended, my mother would continue having her own relationship with the ex, regardless of how I felt about it.

Over the years she has attended my ex-husband's wedding, still visits with my former high school boyfriend, contacts my sister's ex-boyfriend -- the list goes on and on. Not surprisingly, this issue has generated some heated exchanges.

Now my adult daughter is experiencing the same thing. She recently ended a three-year relationship, and guess where Mother ended up? She drove 20 miles to visit him in his store, although there are plenty of other stores she could have gone to nearby.

I have long felt that I didn't matter much to her since my exes were so important to her. But seeing the pain this has brought to my daughter makes me furious all over again. Should we just never introduce her to anyone in our lives until the wedding? -- SICK OF THE EX-FACTOR

DEAR SICK OF THE EX-FACTOR: You're within your rights to do that. However, I find it odd that not only does your mother have such a hard time letting go of these men, but also that all of them seem to have a hard time letting go of her. I could see this happening once -- but that it's happening with all of them seems peculiar.

DEAR ABBY: I am an obese woman who had the lap band procedure done three months ago. I am now able to eat only three or four ounces of food at a time, and I am starting to show some major weight loss.

What do I say to people with whom I go out to eat when they think I am being finicky or snobbish for not eating my entire meal? I have gotten some pretty weird stares, and one of my co-workers believes I have an eating disorder.

Abby, I would prefer not to come out and say that I have had weight-loss surgery, but I don't want people worried about me either. Any suggestions? -- MINI-ME IN TEXAS

DEAR MINI-YOU: So many people in this country have serious weight problems, I see no reason why you shouldn't be frank about what you decided to do about yours. It's not shameful, and it should not be a guilty secret. People who know you well will find out eventually.

However, if you are determined not to reveal that you had the surgery, when you eat out in restaurants, order only an appetizer. That way less food will remain on your plate.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a retired guy who likes to stay in shape, so I run and hike in a neighborhood park several times a week.

I was brought up to be friendly and outgoing, so I make a point of saying "hi" to everyone I pass. I don't expect anything in return, but it puzzles me that so few people (about one in six) will give a mannerly old guy the courtesy of a nod or a smile, much less a hello.

Is this the new etiquette? Women are excused, for obvious reasons, but interestingly, the prettiest ones do say hello. Any thoughts on this? -- FRIENDLY IN BERKELEY

DEAR FRIENDLY: Maybe the less "pretty" ones are so winded they can't respond. So keep jogging and don't let it get you down.

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