Dear Abby: I'm struggling because my stepson has chosen to get married on my birthday. I have been his stepmom for 18 years. It feels like a punch in the chest. My in-law family members are saying things like "OMG, how do you feel about that? I can't believe you're going to let that happen. It will no longer be YOUR special day."
My feelings are deeply hurt. My husband says it's no big deal and I shouldn't let it bother me. But every time someone asks me about it, I feel hurt, and when I'm finally by myself, I cry. I don't know what to do. I need someone's help. Is what my stepson is doing bad etiquette, a slap in the face or no big deal? — Birthday Girl in Illinois
Dear Birthday Girl: That your stepson would be married on your birthday isn't a slap in the face; it's a compliment. If you like his fiancee, consider her to be the ultimate birthday present. I'm surprised anyone would imply, as your in-laws have, that their anniversary would create any kind of conflict. Think of it this way: Your stepson and his new wife will never forget your birthday.
Dear Abby: As a single man, I have been on a few dating websites, and I'd like to say something to the women I have encountered: What is it about you that makes you worth my time to pursue? Many women show a lot of pictures, but reveal very little about themSELVES. Then some of them say in their last sentence that they "want more than 10 words to say hello." These women seem well-educated but unable to write more than a short paragraph about who they are.
Ladies, if you want more than a hi or hello, write something about yourselves beyond your likes and dislikes. Describe who you are, what your hopes and dreams are, and say something that I, as a man, would respond to in my introduction. If you did, it would help me to determine whether I should pursue you. — In the Dark
Dear In the Dark: You make a valid point. I'll be sure to reread your letter if I ever need to join a dating site, and so, I am sure, will my "sisters" out there. Thanks for the heads-up!
Dear Abby: My sister-in-law has had an incredible amount of cosmetic work done, particularly on her face. She is constantly looking for the next new thing to try to look younger — "push this up, tighten that up, erase these marks," etc.
She is a pretty girl, and she thinks this is making her better-looking, but it's making her look worse. Should I let her know how I feel about what she's doing or leave it alone? — Aging Gracefully
Dear Aging Gracefully: What your sister-in-law does with her face and body is her business, just as what you are doing — or not doing — with yours is your choice. Much as you are tempted to tell her that her attempts to look better are futile, if you want a cordial relationship with her, keep your opinion to yourself.
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.