The Dallas Morning News - - ARTS & LIFE - By JEANNE PHILLIPS Email via

Dear Abby: My fi­ancé and I have been to­gether for four years. We live to­gether. Re­cently, I was talk­ing to him about men­tal health and the ben­e­fits of ther­apy, which I firmly sup­port. He said he thinks it’s a waste of time. When I asked why, he replied that it hadn’t worked for him. I asked what he meant by that (I wasn’t aware that he had ever even been in ther­apy), and he said he went when he was 12 or 13.

Af­ter that, he clammed up. He wouldn’t dis­cuss why he went or share any de­tails at all. Nor­mally, we can talk about any­thing. I feel like if it hadn’t been im­por­tant, he wouldn’t have re­acted that way.

Since then, I have been feel­ing dis­tant from him be­cause of this. I’m not an­gry, and I don’t want to force him to tell me any­thing, but as his fu­ture wife, I’m con­cerned that he would keep his past from me.

I would like for him to at least open up about the ba­sics. I want us to be close, but I don’t want to in­vade his pri­vacy or make him feel dis­re­spected. Should I try and for­get that he said any­thing at all? Torn in Ge­or­gia

Dear Torn: No, just wait a few weeks be­fore you ask him why he re­acted the way he did. By then he may be bet­ter able to ar­tic­u­late it. You should be aware be­fore you marry him of what the is­sue was, par­tic­u­larly if it in­volved de­pres­sion or mo­lesta­tion.

Dear Abby: Ear­lier this year, my step­mother made it a goal to lose weight. So far she has made no changes in her diet to help her ac­com­plish that goal. She eats lots of fatty foods, uses lots of salt and eats al­most no fruits or veg­eta­bles.

I feel Dad en­ables her be­cause he does noth­ing to en­cour­age her to eat health­ier. He, on the other hand, eats very healthy — al­most the op­po­site of what she does. He rarely eats any­thing fatty and uses salt spar­ingly. He also eats fruits and veg­eta­bles ev­ery day.

My step­mother’s weight is an is­sue. She has sev­eral health prob­lems that would im­prove greatly if she lost weight. I would like to say some­thing to her about her diet, but don’t know how with­out of­fend­ing her. I know she would take it per­son­ally, and it would make our re­la­tion­ship dif­fi­cult. What should I do in this sit­u­a­tion? It’s a Weighty Is­sue

Dear Weighty Is­sue: I think the best ap­proach would be to talk about this with your father. Tell your dad you are con­cerned be­cause your step­mother’s weight prob­lem is af­fect­ing her health and sug­gest they con­sult a li­censed nutritioni­st (RDN) about “tweak­ing” her diet to help her to reach her goal. Be­cause the topic is sen­si­tive, it would be bet­ter if he broached the sub­ject with his wife rather than you. While he’s at it, he could also sug­gest some light ex­er­cise ac­tiv­ity to start her mov­ing.

Dear Abby: How do you tell a well­dressed, so­phis­ti­cated woman that she needs to clean her nose? I have en­coun­tered this prob­lem more than once, and I am em­bar­rassed for them. Barb in Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Barb: If you are in a group, take the woman aside and give her the news pri­vately. While she may be em­bar­rassed, I’m sure she would also be grate­ful that you cared enough to clue her in. (The same goes for some­one trail­ing toi­let pa­per on her shoe, or worse, down the back of her pants.)

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