DEAR ABBY: One of my sons is dating a young woman who seems to care deeply for him, but is very cool and distant to our family. He goes to nearly all of her family's events, but she seldom comes to any of ours.
She has been to one birthday get-together at a restaurant, a wedding and a play where I bought the tickets for her, myself and all my daughters-in-law. She has been invited to family dinners at one or another of our homes, Christmas celebrations, Thanksgivings, birthdays — you name it — but has not come to any of them. My husband and I hand-make our gifts to her, which require a lot of time and effort. Last year, she sent us each a gift for Christmas.
They have been dating for several years. When they are apart, she texts him constantly. I am confused and troubled by her indifference to us. We have been more than welcoming to her. Is there anything I or we could do to help her warm up to us? — FLUMMOXED MOM IN THE SOUTH
DEAR FLUMMOXED: Have you talked with your son about this? If not, you should. You are already doing everything you can, so prepare to batten down the hatches. If your son eventually marries this insecure young woman, she will continue isolating him from his family and absorb him into her own. When the grandchildren come, they will spend the majority of their time with her family and not yours.
It is harsh, but it's the truth. Unless your son is strong enough to put his foot down, it's exactly what will happen. You have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: I am a naturally thin young woman. Oftentimes, especially when I'm working in offices with older women, my co-workers comment on their dissatisfaction with their weight and how they wish their body could be more like mine.
To be honest, I don't equate thinness with beauty or fat with ugliness. But when I try to tell these women I think they are beautiful as they are, it's received with suspicion, as if they think I don't mean what I say. How can I respond to those who are unhappy with their weight without sounding insincere? I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. — THIN IN FLORIDA
DEAR THIN: When your co-workers compliment you about your figure, smile and say thank you. Period. If they express dissatisfaction with their appearance, do not allow yourself to be drawn into the conversation. You can't alleviate their insecurities; they haven't believed you when you tried. Because the subject makes you uncomfortable, try changing the topic to another one.
DEAR ABBY: Is there a place where I can donate puzzles? I always make sure all the pieces are there. I put them in a zip bag inside a taped box so anyone who gets them would be getting something that's as good as new. I have a whole closet full, and I need to find a place to donate them. They are too nice to throw away. — WANTING TO SHARE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WANTING: I am sure that if you call around you will discover that senior centers, hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, churches, schools and rehabilitation facilities could put those puzzles to good use. It's worth a try.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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