DEAR ABBY: We used to live in a neighborhood where my 13-year-old daughter's best friend, "Mandy," still lives. They would play together and visit often and are well-suited in maturity and personality. Since we moved, Mandy has been to our new home (five miles away) a dozen times.
The last several times we have invited her to come over, she has been unable to, which I completely understand. People are busy. But recently, I have received no response at all from her mother. (Mandy was invited to my daughter's sleepover, and I was not told whether she was coming or not. She didn't.)
My daughter is heartbroken, but I feel I have done all I can do to offer a chance for them to get together. I have emailed, texted, Facebooked and called and left a message. I emailed the mother asking if I had offended her, or if her daughter no longer wanted to be friends anymore. Mandy's mom indicated there was no offense; they just have been super-busy. (Our daughters email each other several times a week, so I think they still would like to be friends.)
Clearly, I can't force the woman to be more responsive, but how should I handle this? And what should I tell my daughter, who misses her friend so much? -- NOT THAT FAR AWAY
DEAR NOT THAT FAR: Not knowing Mandy's mother, I can't render an opinion about whether she's leveling with you about her schedule. She MAY be super-busy, experiencing family or health problems or simply not want to drive her daughter 10 miles for a play date. As I see it, you have no choice other than to let her know Mandy is always welcome.
Tell your daughter what her mother told you -- that she's extremely busy, and that you are sorry it has limited the time she gets to spend with her friend. At the same time, make a point of getting your daughter involved in new activities, so she can meet other girls and develop new interests so she'll have less time to dwell on missing Mandy.
P.S. Have you offered to take your daughter to Mandy's house so her mother won't have to do all the driving?
DEAR ABBY: My husband of seven years has always placed Wife No. 1 (I'm his second) on a pedestal. He often calls her to drive him to doctors' appointments, take care of his finances -- he even puts some of our bills in her name. He also talks to her about our marital problems and what we do in the bedroom. I feel like second string here.
I'm the mother of his children and I have always stood by him. I even made an extra effort to befriend the ex, only to find out she used it to her advantage to get more buried into our personal lives.
What can I do about this situation? I'm ready to call it quits, but I'm concerned that the two of them will make me out to be a selfish monster for wanting to come first or for leaving. Please help me. -- FED UP IN TEXAS
DEAR FED UP: I'll try. Draw the line and offer your husband the option of seeing a licensed marriage counselor. If he refuses -- and he probably will -- get some counseling without him. While you are there, describe your husband's continued involvement with his ex and discuss whether being unable to tolerate this "marriage of three" means you are "selfish." Frankly, I don't understand how you have tolerated it this long.
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