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Friends to Follow

Dear Abby 12/14

Woman can't shake family issues even 3,000 miles away

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    DEAR ABBY: I live 3,000 miles away from my immediate family. I am happily married and six months' pregnant. In the past, I had many issues with my family. I have a long history of anorexia, and my pregnancy has forced me to give up my self-destructive behaviors. I would never jeopardize my baby.
    I asked my father if I could have a baby shower this month. I don't want to travel when I am further along in my pregnancy, nor do I want negative comments from my family members about my size. After my baby is born, I will not visit for at least a year.
    My father suggested that I have a baby shower then, but my baby will be a year old! He believes having a baby shower "too early" is asking for gifts. I am hurt by his attitude, and I'm having a hard time understanding his logic.
    Meanwhile, my friends and a few family members have offered to host a shower for me next month, but I want my father's support — which perhaps is another issue in itself. Please advise. — MOM-TO-BE IN SAN FRANCISCO
    DEAR MOM-TO-BE: You are correct — your need for your father's approval, and his unwillingness to give it, is "another issue in itself." Unless he comes from a culture in which infant mortality is so high that it is traditional to wait until a child is born to hold a shower, I can only conclude that his unwillingness is a form of punishment.
    My advice is to allow your friends and family members to host the shower. Take plenty of pictures and send copies to your "immediate family." Visit them next year, and don't be surprised if no shower is forthcoming then, either. Live a healthy, happy life, enjoy your husband and child, and do not allow anyone to make you feel less than adequate. And that includes your father.
    P.S. If, after your baby arrives, you begin backsliding with your eating disorder, for your sake and the sake of your child, I urge you to get professional counseling. Children model their eating habits on those of their parents.

    DEAR ABBY: I am a 55-year-old grandmother, twice divorced. I have been living with a man I'll call "Mickey," and we're contemplating marriage.
    My older sister met Mickey for the first time and insists that I abandon my marriage plans. She says that while she talked with him, she realized that he is controlling, possessive and angry. She's convinced that he will ruin my life.
    I love my sister, and I'm not sure how to react to her phone calls and e-mails. I have not discussed this with Mickey because I don't want him thinking poorly of my sister. I know he has problems, anger issues being one of them. And perhaps she's right about his being controlling and possessive.
    I'm not sure what to do here. Mickey wants to get married next month. I'm thinking we need to wait a while longer. We've been together only seven months. — WENDY IN WASHINGTON STATE
    DEAR WENDY: You have struck out twice at marriage. For your own sake, please do not marry again without at least a year of premarital counseling. The traits your sister spotted, and that you admit Mickey suffers from, are red flags that he could be an abuser. Your mental and physical health could be at risk, so do not allow yourself to be rushed into anything.
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