DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for 38 years. Our two children are adults now. Our older son has had the same girlfriend for 11 years, but my in-laws still won’t accept her because they aren’t married, so they don’t include her in some family functions. How can I let them know in a nice way that she is family to me? Even my husband doesn’t regard her as family.
I understand some people are that way, but I was raised by a mother who saw all of our friends and boyfriends and girlfriends as family, even after some were divorced. I feel like skipping these family functions if my children and their girlfriends aren’t included. What can I do? — INCLUSIVE IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR INCLUSIVE: Your in-laws have a right to their opinions, and so do you. Listen to your heart. If it’s telling you that you would rather spend those times with your children and their girlfriends, go ahead and do it. I am assuming that the son who is involved in the long-term relationship would not be leaving his girlfriend home alone when these gatherings are held, because if that’s the case after 11 years, she should dump him.
DEAR ABBY: My sisters and I grew up in California. One of my sisters moved to Texas with her husband 29 years ago. Over the years I have had to listen to her put California down. On the occasions when she visits, she never fails to mention how crowded it is, how the air is terrible and how our government is a joke.
Recently, she asked to come here for a visit, and I agreed. The next day I got a text from her with an article attached about “Why California Sucks.” I am so irritated that I no longer want her to come next month. How do I handle this? — ANNOYED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ANNOYED: Are you telling me you have tolerated your sister’s jibes about our great state of California all this time without putting a stop to it? That woman has a lot of nerve! If she truly hates it here, why is she willing to come?
Although California may have its natural disasters, a large homeless population, unhealthful air quality, scorching heat waves and the promise of even higher taxes to come — other states are not without their challenges. Yet folks still seem to want to immigrate to California in droves, judging by the traffic.
The time has come to draw the line. Tell your sister you don’t like her needling, and if she doesn’t cut it out, her invitation will be rescinded.
DEAR ABBY: For the last 20 years, I have been sending my four nieces and nephews birthday and Christmas cards with checks enclosed. They are adults now with jobs and families. How can I gently tell them that I wish to discontinue the checks in their cards? — NO MORE IN FLORIDA
DEAR NO MORE: All you need to do is remind them — lovingly — that because they are adults now, with jobs and families of their own, you would like to exchange cards on special occasions rather than send money. Many parents do this when their children reach adulthood.
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.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)