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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband a little over a year. He's a wonderful man, but I feel he's a little too attached to his mother. She lives about 20 minutes away, and he wants to go visit her almost every day.

His mother is a very negative person. She isn't mean and we get along well, but her negativity is overwhelming. She finds joy in practically nothing and I always leave feeling agitated.

I have talked with my husband about this before and his response is, "That's how some old people are." I could put up with it a few times a week, but this everyday thing is wearing on me. How can I get my husband to understand how I'm feeling without hurting his mother's feelings? -- NO JOY IN TEXAS

DEAR NO JOY: You and your husband are married, not joined at the hip. If he wants to see his mother every day, that's fine. But you should not be obligated to go with him more than a couple of times a week if you don't want to. If he feels he needs to give her an explanation for your absence, he should tell her you are busy with things you need to do. It's polite, it's logical -- and I'm sure you will find errands or tasks with which to fill the time.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend has been meeting a group of diving friends in Mexico for more than 15 years. We are now a couple and this was my first year meeting everyone. There were two other couples and one female, "Connie," sharing the condo. The other couples had private bathrooms, and we shared the main bathroom with Connie.

I found it odd that Connie would leave the bathroom after showering with only a towel wrapped around her. My boyfriend would stay in the room or go out to the deck and read, yet she didn't hesitate to walk out to the patio and converse with him.

Is this socially acceptable or is it me? What can I say to her next year? I thought about buying her a bathrobe and giving it to her. I have also considered that my boyfriend and I could get a private room and stay in there until we know she's dressed. Really, she needs the private room, and I thought about paying for it, or should something just politely be said? -- NO PROPER WRAP

DEAR N.P.W.: Before doing anything, stop and analyze why you are so bothered by what Connie is doing. Do you think she is coming on to your boyfriend? Remember, these are all diving friends who have gotten together for a very long time before you were in the picture.

If he was interested in her, which I doubt, he wouldn't be with you. I do not think paying for another room for Connie would be appropriate. I do think you should get to know her better and, if you still feel threatened (which you may not), talk to your boyfriend about your feelings.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Friends & Neighbors

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