DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for 38 years. Our two children are adults now. Our older son has had the same girlfriend for 11 years, but my in-laws still won't accept her because they aren't married, so they don't include her in some family functions. How can I let them know in a nice way that she is family to me? Even my husband doesn't regard her as family.
I understand some people are that way, but I was raised by a mother who saw all of our friends and boyfriends and girlfriends as family, even after some were divorced. I feel like skipping these family functions if my children and their girlfriends aren't included. What can I do? -- INCLUSIVE IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR INCLUSIVE: Your in-laws have a right to their opinions, and so do you. Listen to your heart. If it's telling you that you would rather spend those times with your children and their girlfriends, go ahead and do it. I am assuming that the son who is involved in the long-term relationship would not be leaving his girlfriend home alone when these gatherings are held, because if that's the case after 11 years, she should dump him.