ear Abby: I am in a great relationship with a wonderful man, “Kevin.” He loves me very much and we get along well. I have three kids — two with special needs — and Kevin loves them and treats them like his own. He also has a son, age 6, who has cystic fibrosis.
I love Kevin and can see myself marrying him. The problem is, I don’t think I like his son. He’s a good kid, cute and funny, but I don’t feel “love” for him. I’m affectionate with my own kids, but I have to force myself to be with this boy. I am easily irritated by him and sometimes just don’t want to be bothered.
I know this sounds terrible, but I don’t know what I should do. I don’t want to end my relationship with Kevin because I’m so in love. But is it fair to stay with him if I don’t love his son, too?
— In Conflict in Northern California
Dear in Conflict: Frankly, it depends upon whether you can learn to love the boy. You say you don’t like him. Why not? Is the reason valid? Is he mean, dishonest, spoiled or too needy? Or could it be that he’s a living reminder that your boyfriend once loved another woman?
If your relationship is to work, you may need an attitude adjustment. Can you focus on the positive qualities the boy has? That would be a good first step. If not, then for everyone’s sake, end the relationship now.
Dear Abby: I am 12 and my mom is part of a church group (Unitarian). She recently told me she is taking me to her church where they are making pies for the homeless. Even though this is a nice act, I don’t want to be a part of it (mainly because I am very shy around new people).
When I told my mom, she said she thought I was being rude and inconsiderate, and that she would make me come and ground me if I didn’t go. Is there any way I can explain it to her better?
— Shy Kid
Dear Shy Kid: If you have already told your mother the reason is your shyness, then I can’t think of a way to state it more clearly. She may feel that your help in the project is urgently needed, which is why she’s insisting. Or, she may feel that it might help you to overcome your shyness. Sometimes when people work together for a worthy cause they forget about themselves and their insecurities. I hope you will give it a try — if only so you won’t be grounded.
Dear Abby: Our waitress in a mid-level chain restaurant was friendly and helpful, but her tongue was pierced with a stud. It impaired her speech, making her hard to understand, and it was visible every time she spoke.
We are pretty liberal about most things, but it was difficult for us to enjoy our meal. Would it have been OK for us to ask for a different waitress?
— Put Off in Tennessee
Dear Put Off: Yes. If you preferred that another server help you, it was within your rights to ask for one or ask to be moved to a table in another section of the restaurant.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.