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by Abigail Van Buren

Fiance Can't Get His Arms Around Habit of Cuddling

DEAR ABBY: I'm on the verge of 30, and my fiance has a huge issue with the fact that I still cuddle with my mom. From what he says, his family isn't wild about it, either.

Mom has suffered a great deal of loss in her life. She has lost all of her immediate family (aside from her kids) to cancer. We were all caretakers for these family members, doing in-home hospice, and we have formed a unique bond.

My fiance has never even been to a funeral, so it's hard for me to explain this to him. Mom was born in a country in Europe where hugging and lots of affection are natural.

I live out of state, but when I'm home I will put my head on Mom's shoulder and cuddle with her while watching a movie. Sometimes in the morning I'll bring her a hot cup of coffee, put it next to her bed, and jump in with her and her dog. We joke, laugh, cuddle until we have to get up. Is this something I need professional help for, as certain people have had the nerve to tell me? -- AFFECTIONATE IN ALBANY, N.Y.

DEAR AFFECTIONATE: It should be clear to you by now that you are engaged to a man who comes from a family that isn't comfortable with physical demonstrations of affection, and is quick to judge others. Treasure the closeness you have with your mother while you have it because, after she's no longer with you, that special kind of affection will be permanently over.

For your fiance or his family to suggest there's something wrong with cuddling with your mother, or that you need "professional help" because you do it, is both sad and wrong. Many people would find the relationship you share with her to be enviable, and I am one of them.

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