DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old woman in a healthy, loving relationship with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years. We talk about marriage and kids and are committed to each other. We know we are each other’s special one. He recently bought a home, and we live together. My issue is with my mother. I feel she won’t be happy with me until I’m married and have children.
She and Dad met and were married within six months, so to her, any relationship that lasts longer than that without marriage or an engagement must not be the real deal. It has been extremely frustrating over the past couple of years. She slips in judgmental comments all the time and clearly doesn’t respect my relationship with the man I have chosen.
If I try to defend my life and our relationship, she says I’m too defensive and must be unhappy. If I say nothing, which has been my approach for the past six months or so, her snide comments continue. I want a good relationship with her, but I am not sure where to go from here. Marriage and kids are in our future but not for some time. We are enjoying our own timeline. Help!
— IT’S MY LIFE IN COLORADO
DEAR I.M.L.: At 29, you are well into adulthood, so perhaps it’s time to draw the line. Tell your mother you know she loves you and is concerned for your welfare, but you do not plan to marry anyone on her timeline. Then say, calmly, that her comments are hurtful, and you need her to quit the needling, or she will be seeing a lot less of you. Be prepared to follow through.
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DEAR ABBY: I have wrestled with this for a year. I thought I had a good friend. I had a pacemaker implanted, and eight months later I broke my elbow. Both times I was hospitalized. Not once did she come to see me or send a card, even though she is a card lover. I overlooked it until my son’s death made me rethink our friendship. She sent me some fruit but didn’t make one call to see how we were doing, no visitation, nothing. She didn’t send a sympathy card either.
I now regard her as selfish, and I can no longer bring myself to be friends with her. We all make mistakes, that’s true, but three times with no support from her is more than I can accept. I now feel we weren’t friends at all. Am I wrong? We have many dear friends who were there when we needed them. They cried with us, consoled us, brought food, stayed with us. Are my feelings valid?
— ABANDONED IN FLORIDA
DEAR ABANDONED: Where feelings are concerned, there is no “right” or “wrong.” Sometimes people feel extremely uncomfortable about what they should say or do when a difficult situation arises such as an illness, an accident or a death. That your friend made herself absent when you needed her support is unfortunate. Not knowing her, I can’t guess her reason, and neither can you. So before YOU abandon HER, you should ask her that question.