Girl­friend ques­tions tex­ting from boyfriend’s mom

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LIFESTYLES - Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: Ihave­been dat­ing “James” for al­most a year. Things have been rough for him re­cently. His de­pres­sion has led to school at­ten­dance is­sues, but we got through it.

The prob­lem is James’ mother. She’s well mean­ing, and she has al­ways been in­cred­i­bly sweet to me, but she has started tex­ting and ques­tion­ing me about how I am do­ing, re­gard­ing her son and the “tri­als” he brings to our relationship (or her per­cep­tion of them). I ap­pre­ci­ate her con­cern, but it makes me very un­com­fort­able.

Per­haps she asks out of con­cern for me, but it seems like she’s try­ing to speak on his be­half or de­fend him some­how, which makes me feel aw­ful. How can I ex­plain to her that some­thing which is meant to be as sim­ple as “Are you do­ing OK?” is hurt­ing me? — TWISTED UP

DEAR TWISTED UP: If James’ de­pres­sion is se­vere enough that it is in­ter­fer­ing with his ed­u­ca­tion, his mother has a right to be con­cerned. She may be try­ing to as­sess its sever­ity by reach­ing out to you. On the other hand, “How are you do­ing?” can be clas­si­fied as an in­no­cent ques­tion.

Be­cause you are un­com­fort­able with the way th­ese con­ver­sa­tions are go­ing, re­spond that you are fine and ask her how SHE is do­ing. You do not have to en­gage in con­ver­sa­tions with any­one who makes you un­com­fort­able, and if some­one ven­tures into sen­si­tive ter­ri­tory, you have ev­ery right to say you pre­fer not to dis­cuss it and change the sub­ject. If she wants in­for­ma­tion about her son, the per­son she should be ask­ing is him.

DEAR ABBY: My hus­band is still work­ing, although he will re­tire in a few years. We have been in our home since 1987. It is com­fort­able, but it’s too big for us and too much work now. Our grandkids live fourhour­s­away,andweare think­ing about mov­ing near them. My son’s in-laws have al­ready re­lo­cated from New York.

I am hav­ing ter­ri­ble anx­i­ety about leav­ing my home and our large lot, which is cov­ered with beau­ti­ful trees in all sea­sons. We have looked at “over55” com­mu­ni­ties, and the yards are small and tree­less. I love my trees — es­pe­cially the mag­no­lia my hus­band and sons planted many years ago. I also adore seeing all the birds and wildlife.

How do other re­lo­ca­tors han­dle the move? I know I should fo­cus on the pos­i­tive as­pects, such as get­ting rid of our clut­ter and be­ing near the grands, but I’m hav­ing trou­ble with this. Help, please. — GET­TING READY IN GE­OR­GIA

DEAR GET­TING READY: I’m glad you wrote now, be­cause you have lots of time to plan the move you are con­sid­er­ing. If what you will miss the most about your home is the trees, per­haps the over-55 com­mu­ni­ties in the area to which you are re­lo­cat­ing are not for you. Take some time, talk with a real es­tate agent and ex­plore what smaller homes might be right for you. How­ever, if an over-55 com­mu­nity is a must, per­haps you can find one that’s near a park where you can go and en­joy the trees and wildlife.

As to the mem­o­ries you will leave be­hind, you will al­ways have them to look back on, and you will be cre­at­ing new ones ev­ery day.

is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne PhilliTs, and was founded by her mother, Pauline PhilliTs. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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