DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a phobia of being on boats, and my family has known about it for years. I get anxiety and panic at the thought of being on a boat. My mother's new boyfriend has three boats and is in love with the sea. She constantly talks about how often we will be on boats in the summer. When I told her I would not be going, she decided I act this way because I get seasickness. It's incredibly frustrating to me that she trivializes my phobia and thinks a tablet can cure it. How do I make my mother realize I have a reason to not go on the boat while politely declining her boyfriend's invitations? -- Mal Voyage, Darien, Connecticut
DEAR MAL VOYAGE: Your mother is so excited about her life with her new beau that she isn't thinking straight, or so it sounds from your account. Sit your mother down in a quiet moment and tell her you need to talk to her about something that is really important to you. Explain that you do not get seasick. Instead, you absolute dread the notion of going on the water. Ask her to respect your decision to stay on land this summer. Give her your blessing for her to go and have fun with her boyfriend without you.