DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Gabriel," has a large network of friends who have known each other for a long time. We get together as a group a couple of times a month for birthdays, sports events, etc. Whenever we do, the men veer away into their own world of conversation, while we women are left to talk to each other and eat dips.
Honestly, I dread it. These women are generally petty, hypersensitive and hard to talk to about anything of substance. We share no common interests in our jobs, musical tastes, television viewing, etc.
I don't want to skip the outings altogether because I have become good friends with the guys, and some of them will be in our wedding. But if I leave the women's table and join the men, I'm afraid I'll send a message that I'm clinging to Gabriel. That's not the case. It's that I prefer the men's conversation to what the women discuss.
Is there a solution? Must I learn to deal with what these women talk about? Can I join the men without the women thinking I'm a clingy fiancee? I would like to enjoy myself at these parties, even if it means breaking the social norm. -- BORED IN BUFFALO
DEAR BORED: Discuss this with Gabriel to see what advice he has to offer. I see no reason why you couldn't join the men. However, you should make a point of spending some time with the women so they won't get the impression that you are snubbing them.
DEAR ABBY: We live in an area where rent is very high and buying is out of the question. The nearby lower-priced areas have terrible schools and aren't safe. Because we have a small child, these are real concerns.
We have an opportunity to move to another state where costs are much lower. We could buy a nice home, the schools are excellent, and I could still maintain my same job and salary. The problem is, it would mean moving away from my family.
I want to give my daughter the chance to grow up in circumstances where we aren't constantly worried about not building home equity or saving toward retirement. But I worry that taking her away from her extended family will be rough.
My husband's relatives live all over the world. He has been in so many countries and states that he's used to not having family around. He wants us to move so we can buy a house and save for retirement. What's your advice? -- RACHEL IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR RACHEL: You have given solid reasons for making the move. Chief among them is that your child will have a brighter future if she grows up in a safe environment and gets the best education possible, plus there will be less worry about all of you being safe. It is equally important for you and your husband to be able to accumulate enough in savings that your retirement years will be comfortable.
Listen to your husband because you have married a smart man. I know family is important, but your daughter already knows who they are. You may be able to visit with them in person or stay in touch via video-chatting. This is the way many families maintain close ties, and I hope you will consider it.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)