DEAR ABBY: I'm a fiercely independent and headstrong woman. I have recently begun dating my childhood sweetheart, "Jess," again after 20 years. Jess is traditional and would prefer I surrender my independence and allow him to take the "man's" role. We are trying to compromise, but now another issue has come up.
My best friend, "Wendell," recently proposed to his girlfriend and asked me to be his best woman at the wedding. Of course I accepted. I'm excited about the honor he has bestowed upon me, and I will be wearing a tuxedo and stiletto heels.
Jess is totally against it. He says Wendell is treating me like I'm a man and I'm going along with it. Every time the subject comes up, Jess gets angry. He hasn't met Wendell yet, and I would love more than anything for my two special guys to get along. What am I to do? -- ON THE SPOT IN WALDORF, MD.
DEAR ON THE SPOT: Before you go much further with Jess, it is important that you clearly understand not only what he feels a "man's role" is, but also exactly what he thinks a woman's role should be. Your relationship with him would be a lot healthier if he could accept you just as you are -- and from your description of what's going on, I'm not sure he's flexible enough to do that.
It appears that Jess' thinking is firmly rooted in the 1930s. He may be a lovely person, but from my perspective, his definition of "compromise" is for you to assume the role of a female of that era. Women have come a long way since then, and I don't think assuming that role would be healthy for you.
DEAR ABBY: I have two grandsons and a new granddaughter. My daughter-in-law keeps dressing the infant in black dresses for her monthly pictures.
Abby, I can't stand to see a beautiful baby dressed in black. I have purchased lovely, colorful outfits for her at children's shops only to have her mother return them. Is this a new trend, does she have terrible taste, or am I crazy? –- FEELING BLUE IN RICHLAND, WASH.
DEAR FEELING BLUE: It's not a new trend, it isn't terrible taste, and you're not crazy. It is, however, a matter of PERSONAL taste. Black garments are available for children of all ages. When I mentioned your letter to a photographer who specializes in children's portraits, I was informed that wearing black is not typical in children's photos -- unless the parents are into Goth. Could this include your daughter-in-law?
DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, my sister's husband of 20 years suddenly left her for a 23-year-old girl. He is living openly with her, even though he is still married to my sister. What is most disturbing is some members of his family are openly supporting this affair.
The shock of my brother-in-law's infidelity is painful enough, but the insensitivity of these family members is unbelievable. Are those people ignorant or just plain evil? -- HURTING FOR MY SISTER
DEAR HURTING: The situation you have described is very sad. Not knowing the husband's family, I can't judge whether they are ignorant or evil. However, it's clear that in this case, blood is thicker than water -- and for whatever reason, some of the in-laws never bonded emotionally with your sister.
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 $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)