Dear Abby: Parents welcome daughter’s boyfriend into family

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DEAR ABBY: We have two lovely daughters in their 20s. The older one lives with her boyfriend. They are expecting a baby soon. Our younger daughter lives with us, and she’s planning on moving in with her boyfriend.

We’re an old married couple, and we’re not sure how to treat our daughters’ boyfriends. However, “Gerald” is the father of our new grandchild, and we think of him as family. “Joel” is a great guy who is in love with our younger daughter and vice versa, so we think of him as family, too.

We stumbled through the holidays not knowing if we should get gifts for them. Joel is having a birthday soon. Should we get him a gift? We want to bring the boyfriends into our family and treat them like our children, but we don’t know if we’re overstepping our bounds. Can we start treating them like sons and wait for them to correct us? — STUMBLING IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR STUMBLING: Stop stumbling. I can’t think of a better way to draw your daughters’ significant others into your family than to open your hearts, let them know they are welcome and treat them that way.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 17 and will start my senior year of high school next fall. Recently, I started talking to this boy in my cooking class named “Ethan.” He’s a year older, but I decided to make the first move.

We went on a few dates and he was quiet, reserved and respectful. Overall, he’s a nice guy. At first the fact that he’s only an inch taller than I am bothered me. But then he told me about a foot deformity he has. He said two of his toes on each foot are attached and he calls them “webbed.”

When he sent me a photo one day to prove it, I realized his toes were almost entirely attached and I freaked out. I don’t know how to feel. Am I being shallow? — NERVOUS IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR NERVOUS: No, I think you’re being foolish. Ethan’s toes are HIS issue, and you appear to be making it yours. You say he’s a nice guy. Try to remember you are not dating his feet, you are dating the person to which they are appended, and a person’s toes are not the measure of his character.

P.S. This is an excellent example of why it’s unwise to send photos of one’s anatomy.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is being married for the second time. Some of the guests were invited to her first wedding and will be invited to her second one as well.

As her mother, I don’t feel right about expecting certain guests who have already given her one wedding gift to give her another at the second wedding. How would you suggest we convey to this “select group” that a gift is not expected from them?

Would it be proper to state something such as “Your presence is our present”? — MOTHER OF THE BRIDE, AGAIN

DEAR MOTHER OF THE BRIDE: NO mention of gifts should be made in your daughter’s wedding invitation. I agree that guests who gave your daughter gifts for her first wedding should not feel compelled to buy her anything more than a token gift for this one.

This goes for ANY guest who attended the first wedding, not just “select” guests, whatever that means. Any discussion regarding gifts should be done verbally by you if you are hosting the wedding.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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