DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend's best friend asked if we could drive an hour to visit them and their children on Saturday. I've met her twice, and we have chatted a bit online. I have met her fiance only once.
My boyfriend just told me she wants to take off with him to a bar for a birthday drink -- or two -- while I stay at home with her fiance. When I heard about it, I said I am not OK with being excluded. He understood and agreed they would take a walk around the block instead.
When I texted her saying I didn't want to be ditched, she insisted that I need to share him, and her fiance is looking forward to getting to know me better. She also tried to guilt me, saying it's her birthday weekend.
I think she's rude. I've never been to their house, and I'm not friends with her fiance. When you invite a couple over, I believe the expectation is to socialize as a group, not break off. I also think it should have been a request versus something I was told is happening. If she wants to spend time with my boyfriend, they should make separate plans. Can you please weigh in on the etiquette? -- UNEXPECTED PLANS IN THE EAST
DEAR UNEXPECTED: You appear to be the "new kid on the block," while your boyfriend, his best friend and the fiance have known one another a long time. The purpose of getting together is for all concerned to have an enjoyable time. If you wouldn't feel comfortable in the situation as it was described, you shouldn't have been pressured to agree, regardless of whether it's her birthday weekend. She was wrong to do that, and yes, it was rude.
DEAR ABBY: My son was in a serious accident, which left him with a head injury as well as other physical problems. Since then he has also had anxiety attacks, paranoia and a profound dislike of me. We went from a close relationship to a shattered one, and I don't know why. He has said horrible things about me to other family members, none of which are true. His wife is clueless. She has exacerbated the situation by viewing this as "his side vs. my side."
My other children are angry at them both and want to just ignore him. They stay in contact with him because I beg them not to abandon him. Unfortunately, due to confidentiality regulations, I am unable to speak to his doctors. We have had no contact for three months, and I won't initiate it. I love him and this is breaking my heart. Please advise me. -- UNHAPPY MAMA IN THE WEST
DEAR UNHAPPY MAMA: My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine how pained and helpless you must feel because of your son's traumatic brain injury. I wish I had a magic wand and could make this unfortunate situation go away, but I do have a suggestion. Although HIPAA regulations prevent you from speaking with his doctors, nothing prevents you from writing them a letter if you think there's something they need to know.
You'd be wise to seek professional counseling for yourself now. No one can predict whether your son will regain his emotional balance, and it's important you have all the emotional support you need for your loss. In a very real sense, it is a loss, the loss of the son you knew. A licensed therapist can give you insight on how to move forward.
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