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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I live in Atlanta, and my family lives four hours south. My brother travels here often to visit his girlfriend and their son. I never know he's in town unless another family member mentions it or he posts a photo of himself at a local landmark.

My parents and brother came here to attend my nephew's school band concert. No one mentioned that they were coming or contacted me during their visit. I learned about it after speaking with my grandmother the following day. Since then, I have spoken to my parents once briefly, and they still haven't mentioned it. Apparently, judging from the group text I just received, my brother is back in town again today for another event.

I don't want to make this about me, but I feel left out. Do I have the right to have hurt feelings? -- FORGOTTEN SISTER IN GEORGIA

DEAR SISTER: You have the right to feel however you feel. But I have to wonder how close you and your brother really are, and whether you get along with the girlfriend. I suspect this may be why you are not included during these visits. Your parents may not have told you they were in town because they were asked not to or didn't want to hurt your feelings. I think it's time for a family discussion, don't you?

Read more in: Family & Parenting

Surprise Proposal Fails to Spark Excitement

DEAR ABBY: I've always been very independent and haven't had many serious relationships in my 34 years of life. For the last two years, I have been in a healthy relationship with a man who is kind, smart and makes me feel like I can be myself.

On our first anniversary, although we had never talked about marriage, he surprised me with a proposal. I didn't feel the excitement and joy that I had always pictured myself feeling when this moment finally happened to me. We haven't set a wedding date, nor am I thrilled about getting married.

I love this person and appreciate him, but I feel like I should be over-the-moon about spending forever with him. Do these blase feelings mean this isn't the right person for me, or that I'm simply not ready for the next step? -- BEWILDERED MOUNTAIN GIRL

DEAR GIRL: Real life isn't like it is portrayed in the movies and on television. There is no cookie-cutter reaction to receiving a proposal. Many women would be thrilled to receive a proposal of marriage from a man who is kind, smart and with whom they can be themselves. (I am not implying that this should be you.)

My recommendation is that you two have a long engagement as well as premarital counseling, so you can both determine what's important to you and if you are on the same page. Frankly, these discussions should have started well before a proposal.

New Haircut Gets Halfhearted Response From Husband

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for five years and together with my husband for 15. I love him, and I try to look attractive for him.

I recently got a shorter haircut that I thought looks nice. When my husband saw it, his reaction was, "It doesn't look bad," and, "If you like it, that's all that matters." I can't help but feel slighted and a little hurt. Am I being too sensitive? -- HURT IN WASHINGTON

DEAR HURT: Maybe. Your husband is entitled to his reaction, and he was honest with you. Would you have preferred that he lie? If you like the new hairstyle, keep it. If you are having second thoughts, remember it's not an arm or a leg; it's only hair, and it will grow.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce

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