DEAR ABBY: After a lot of talk and no action, I finally made the decision to further my education with a master's degree. At present, I have one more required undergraduate credit to complete at the local university. My husband and I are excited that I finally made the decision and am following through.
The problem is my mother-in-law. She has told everyone I have been accepted into the master's program at a prestigious school in my area -- one I am hoping to get into. Abby, we recently threw a surprise party for her mother and everyone was congratulating me. I was embarrassed and had to correct them, saying that was my hope, but I haven't yet applied.
I have asked her to please stop, but it continues. I know she's excited and proud of me, and for that I am thankful, but now I'm incredibly nervous that if I don't get in I'll look like a failure. Suggestions? -- NERVOUS IN THE EAST
DEAR NERVOUS: I am unsure why your mother-in-law would continue to spread information she knows isn't true. Perhaps it's wishful thinking. If you tell her that what she's doing only increases the pressure on you, she may pipe down, but don't count on it.
Because you can't control what comes out of her mouth -- and the cat is out of the bag, so to speak -- you have two choices. Gain admission to that master's program or, if that doesn't turn out to be possible, level with the people who prematurely congratulate you and explain that your MIL jumped the gun and acceptance wasn't a sure thing. The only thing you shouldn't do is allow yourself to be embarrassed about it.