DEAR ABBY: My husband of five years has three children from previous marriages. Earlier this year he learned some disturbing information about his youngest child. He opted not to share the information with me so as not to violate her privacy. I found out about it a few weeks ago, and I am deeply hurt that I was excluded.
I feel I have never been included as a true part of the family, and this is just another example. He feels his explanation justifies his actions and that should be the end of it. I am concerned that he will keep other things from me that he feels are none of my business in the future. I am not at all comfortable with this situation. Do you think I am overreacting?
- Stepmonster in the South
DEAR STEPMONSTER: Yes, I do. Your husband decided not to discuss something with you that he felt would violate his daughter's privacy. Much as you might like to, you can't push your way into being accepted. If relationships are going to happen, they must evolve naturally. So calm down and stop personalizing this. It isn't a threat to your marriage unless you make it so.
DEAR ABBY: Last August, my husband and I allowed our son's 17-year-old girlfriend, "Lindsay," to move into our home from out of state because she needs to live here for a year to establish residency for school. She's a wonderful girl, mature, social and helpful.
My problem is my other sons (ages 18 and 14) are very angry that we have allowed a "stranger" to move in. My son loves his girlfriend, and I want her to feel comfortable and welcome without alienating my other sons. Help!
- Mom of Three Sons
DEAR MOM: The decision about who should or should not be a guest in your home is not up to your boys, who appear to be suffering from a form of "sibling" rivalry.
As a guest in your home, Lindsay should be treated with respect, and it's not happening. You should insist upon it, and if your wishes are not complied with, there should be consequences.