DEAR HARRIETTE: My 20-year-old niece has a new boyfriend. They have been dating for several months and are clearly in the "honeymoon stage" of their relationship. They are all over each other whenever the family gets together. Even at the dinner table, they are practically in each other's arms. I thought they were going to start making out at one point!
My mom and dad are usually present and are uncomfortable with my niece's extreme PDA -- not to mention the little kids who do not know what to think of it. My sister and her husband do not seem to care about their daughter's show of affection.
I am happy for my niece, but her actions are quite inappropriate. Should I say something to my sister about it? Or should I confront my niece? -- Get a Room, Jacksonville, Fla.
DEAR GET A ROOM: I vote for saying something to both of them. Dinner table etiquette does not call for a feel-me-up session. If your niece has not been taught that yet, now's the time.
Tell your niece that her behavior with her boyfriend makes you uncomfortable and is inappropriate for little children to observe. Suggest that she limit the pawing to private moments.
It's possible that your sister isn't noticing the behavior because she is so happy her daughter has made this connection. Tell your sister that although everybody is happy her daughter has a boyfriend, their blatant public displays of affection are making everybody around them uncomfortable. Ask her to talk to her daughter about being more discreet.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband of 30 years just passed away from cancer. We had five kids together, and we all were there for him during his illness. Our relationship was up and down over the years, but we loved each other, and I have been a loyal wife and mother.
I just received his will and found out that he left me nothing. He left most of his life savings to a woman with whom he had an affair long ago. I feel betrayed and hurt. And now that he is gone, I feel like I cannot fight back.
I have so much anger and pain built up inside me. I want to be strong for my kids, but I don't know how. How can I recover from this? What steps can I take to have a better life? -- Crestfallen, Grand Rapids, Mich.
DEAR CRESTFALLEN: I'm so sorry to hear about this seeming betrayal. Death often brings out the worst in people and relationships. Of course, your husband had the right to give his resources to anyone he wanted, yet for him not to think about his children or you is hurtful.
Do not dwell on this. Instead, go to counseling. Work through your feelings and figure out how to move on. You are alive. You can design your future in any way you choose. Naturally, you are hurt. But you can heal. Live for yourself and your children. Choose the happiness that exists in the many corners of your life right now.