Dear Abby: I am a divorcee in my 40s who is in a committed relationship with a man who is also divorced. Neither of our marriages were happy ones. We have been together for three years, live together, love each other unconditionally and have talked extensively about getting married.
Am I wrong to expect a traditional proposal with an engagement ring? I feel if he did it for his first wife, he should do the same ó or more ó for me. Would it be in bad taste to mention this?
Asking Too Much? in Pennsylvania
Dear Asking Too Much?: Unless one of your companionís attributes is clairvoyance, express your feelings. He may not know you would feel somehow cheated if he doesnít come forth with a gesture that is ďequal or betterĒ than what his ex received. Consider carefully what resulted from that first fancy proposal.
An essential ingredient in a successful relationship is the ability to express oneís wants and needs to the partner. I would only suggest that when you do, your thoughts are couched as a request, not a demand.
Dear Abby: A friend told me her daughter is expecting. She hasnít said one word about a boyfriend or marriage. How do I diplomatically ask, ďWho is the father?Ē
People in my generation already knew the answer. Marriage came first. Is this now none of my business? The grandma-to-be has offered no clue. Can you help?
Out of the Loop Out West
Dear Out of the Loop: If Grandma-to-be is keeping mum, you can bet thereís a reason. If the father was Prince Harry, she would be trumpeting it from the rooftops. Your friend may not know who the father is or have some other reason for not disclosing it. Unless you want to tiptoe through a minefield, my advice is DONíT GO THERE.
Dear Abby: Iím a 13-year-old girl who suffers from what Iím afraid is obsessive-compulsive disorder. I have known for four years, but I never told my parents. I finally opened up to them a few days ago, and I thought they wanted to help. But later I heard them mock my condition and laugh about it.
Abby, I thought my parents wanted to help me, but itís becoming clear that they donít. They have offered me therapy, but Iím scared they will mock me for that, too. Now Iím afraid to go. Should I?
Dear Daughter: When people donít understand something, unfortunately they sometimes laugh at it. However, are you absolutely certain that what your parents were laughing about concerned you and not something else? I find it hard to believe that loving parents would laugh at their childís discomfort.
You should by all means take them up on their offer of talking to a therapist. It is the surest way to find a solution for your problem. And when you do, tell the therapist you think you heard your parents laugh about your problem, because if itís true and they are not aware of how serious the problem may be, the therapist can explain it to them.
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