DEAR ABBY: I'm 32 and have been dating my boyfriend, "Jerome," for five years. We both have successful careers and lives of our own. However, when we visit his family who live in the area, I'm subjected to "baby talk" from his mother. She's a wonderful woman who loves her family dearly, but she can't seem to converse with any of us without pitching her voice up an octave and talking in sentences as if we are 5 years old.
In addition, she insists on calling her son every day to ask how his day is going or check on him if he hasn't been feeling well, again with a baby voice. I am at my wits' end. Jerome has addressed the issue several times with her and his father, but it never gets better. His father says that's who she is, and it won't change.
His parents now wonder why I seem so unhappy when I'm around them and think I don't like them. But I'm just tired of the disrespect, and I don't like that they expect me to accept the baby talk. Please help. -- ALL GROWN UP IN HOUSTON
DEAR ALL GROWN UP: I am inclined to agree with your boyfriend's father. This is the way his wife is.
Part of the problem may be that you are complaining to the wrong people about the way she talks to you. Because you seem unable to change the way you feel, and it's affecting how you behave toward your boyfriend's parents, tell her as diplomatically as possible that you feel disrespected when she uses baby talk with you. It's better than sulking, which may be why they think you don't like them -- and appears to be half-true.