DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my early 30s who is a well-paid professional. I like to think I have a good head on my shoulders and a pleasant personality. A year ago, I met a wonderful man, "Adam." He is younger than I am, but we are compatible and our relationship has deepened. I recently asked him to live with me and offered financial assistance so he could pursue his medical education full-time.
My family is in an uproar! They already disapproved of the fact that Adam is younger than I am. Now they are barely civil to him. He has stopped attending family functions with me. Even when he's not around, they badger me to realize that he's "using me."
I finally confronted my sister and insisted she tell me why the family thinks there is no chance that this man loves me. After some hesitation, the truth came out: They think he's too good-looking for a "plain girl" like me.
I was devastated. I have always known that I'm no beauty, but I was convinced Adam saw beyond that and appreciated my other qualities. I WAS convinced, that is -- until now. Abby, what's your take on this? -- HURT AND CONFUSED IN THE LONE STAR STATE
DEAR HURT AND CONFUSED: Please do not allow your overprotective family to devastate your self-esteem. If Adam has given you no reason to doubt him, only time will tell what the future holds for the two of you. You deserve to be happy and to be respected. Allow no one to destroy that.