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.
DEAR ABBY: I have had an internship in a new city this summer. My dad's friend has kindly allowed me to stay in his home while he's away on a long vacation. He told me I can watch his movies, use his TV, and even have friends visit and sleep on the couch. I am very grateful for his generosity.
He left for his vacation in a rush, and at eye-level on the DVD shelf he has a pornographic movie. I have nothing morally against it, but I think it's something he would be uncomfortable with me seeing.
A friend is coming to visit me next week, and I don't know what to do about the DVD. What would respect his privacy more: if I don't touch the film, or if I flip it over to hide the spine? -- SURPRISED GUEST
DEAR SURPRISED: Put the DVD in a drawer and make a note on your calendar to yourself to replace it where it was before your host returns from his trip.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter is on her third marriage to a pretty nice guy, but she's also in regular contact with her first husband by text, email and phone. And now, her present husband is also in contact with an ex-girlfriend (hanging out, having lunch, etc.). What part of this picture am I not getting? -- SUSPICIOUS MOM AND IN-LAW IN ARIZONA
DEAR SUSPICIOUS: I'd say your vision is 20/20 or better. If your daughter's track record holds, marriage No. 3 is in the ninth inning, and the "players" are about to strike out.
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