I am 14 and a freshman in high school. I'm not allowed to date (my mother's rule), but I really like a boy. I think of him all the time. Thankfully, I'm his friend, but he already has a girlfriend.

It hurts me to keep my feelings secret, and that he's happy with another girl. I don't want to ruin his relationship, but it sometimes crosses my mind even though I know it's wrong. Can you please tell me how to deal with this? I want to be his friend, but if I could, I would love to be more than friends.

- Friend Zoned

DEAR FRIEND ZONED: I know it isn't easy, but your best bet would be to stand pat and make no announcements for now. Because your mother feels you aren't ready to date, imagine how restrictive she'll become if she knows you may be influencing this boy to break up with his girlfriend.

And furthermore, if word got around your school that you're the kind of girl who would deliberately cause a breakup, your reputation would be trashed. Be patient and bide your time, and the future will take care of itself.

Stepmom's birthday isn't in her calendar


My husband and I have been married 25 years. We have never had children together, but he has a daughter from a previous marriage. "Bridget" has blessed us with three grandchildren. We get along great, and she has been a wonderful daughter and stepdaughter.

I acknowledge all their birthdays by sending a card and check each year. Bridget always gets her father a gift and card for his birthday. She's also very close to her mother.

My problem is, Bridget has never acknowledged my birthday with a card or even a phone call. She has never asked, "When is your birthday?" when we are discussing birthdays. I once even hinted that mine falls in between two of the grandkids' birthdays.

Am I wrong to feel hurt for never having been acknowledged after 25 years, or should I just let it go?

- Sad Stepmom in Michigan

DEAR STEPMOM: After a quarter of a century, I think it's time to let it go. The time to have mentioned it was years ago, and the person who should have said something to Bridget was her father.

Making up for the snub


Our daughter got married recently and we discovered dear friends were left off the guest list. We are so upset I have lost sleep over it. How do we make amends? We would never have hurt them like this deliberately.

- Upset Mother Of The Bride

DEAR UPSET MOTHER: If your dear friends live far away, pick up the phone and apologize. If they live close by, arrange to meet for lunch or dinner and offer the apology in person. Weddings are often stressful for those who are planning them. Mistakes like this are regrettable, but not uncommon. If these are true friends, they will understand and forgive the oversight.