DEAR ABBY: My husband, "John," recently returned from his fourth Middle East tour after having been gone for a year. As soon as he got back, his mother invited him and his two sisters on a vacation cruise for a week. He said yes, and they'll be leaving in a couple of weeks. The downside is -- no spouses allowed.
John and I are in our mid-40s. We have been married 25 years. I feel slighted, left out and, frankly, disrespected. I'm not sure how to bring this up to him or to his mom. I don't want to cause my husband, who is currently going through a difficult reintegration process, any stress. And I don't want to cause drama with his mother, who will regard my speaking up as an offense to her gesture for her children. Please help. Do I just keep my hurting mouth shut? -- HURTING IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR HURTING: Because your husband is having a difficult time reintegrating, I do think you should keep your mouth closed. The reason you and the other spouses weren't invited may have been the cost involved. If it wasn't, then Mama may have wanted her "brood" around her and no one else.
You say you and your husband have been married 25 years. That would make you a military wife. By definition, military wives are resilient and independent. If you feel you will be at loose ends while your husband is with his mother and siblings, I suggest you and the other "excluded spouses" plan some activities together to pass the time. If you all like each other, you could have a ball.
Later, when the time is right, you and your husband could plan a private getaway just for the two of you.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for almost a year to an amazing man who surprised me with a stunning, large engagement ring. I'm a modest, humble person and often find myself hiding the ring because -- although I love it -- I don't like the attention it brings. My proud mother-in-law often brags about the ring to others. She recently started working at the same place I do and has been showing off the ring (on my finger) to my co-workers. It makes me very uncomfortable because I like to stay as professional as possible.
My mother-in-law is so sweet that I don't want to hurt her feelings. I also don't want to stop wearing my ring to work because it is so special to me. What do I do? -- SPARKLES PLENTY IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR SPARKLES PLENTY: It's a little late to do anything now because most of your co-workers have probably seen your ring. What you should have done when your mother-in-law first drew attention to it was take her aside and ask her privately to stop because you are a humble person and also concerned it might incite jealousy.
DEAR ABBY: Is there such thing as love at first sight? -- A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
DEAR PENNY: There is such a thing as strong mutual attraction at first sight. But love doesn't happen in an instant. Love requires actually getting to know someone.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)