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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Must Sort Out Attractions Before He Is Ready to Marry

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I dated for eight years before we were married two years ago. He has a son from a previous relationship, and we have a 9-month-old son together.

My problem is my mother-in-law. More often than not, she calls me by my stepson's mother's name. Abby, that woman and my husband haven't been together for more than 12 years!

My husband thinks I'm making a big deal out of nothing. He says I should forget about it, but it bothers me. My relationship with his mother has suffered because of it. She lives near us and helps out with watching our baby, so I see her quite often. What are your thoughts on this? -- ALSO KNOWN AS ...

DEAR A.K.A.: If your mother-in-law's slip of the tongue happened occasionally, I would agree with your husband that it's no big deal. Because it happens often, it appears the woman is doing it deliberately. Have you confronted her about it and told her how hurtful it is? If you haven't, you should. And if it doesn't stop, then you're within your rights to limit your time with her and/or arrange for other supervision for your baby. It would be confusing for him to grow up around a grandmother who calls his mother by a stranger's name.