DEAR ABBY: I live with my significant other. We have been together for 13 years now. I would like to ask his stepmother why she refuses to acknowledge me. She sends holiday cards addressed only to her stepson. I am left off invitations as if I simply do not exist. Should I confront her and tell her it hurts my feelings?
I have had a couple of visits with her, and I’m respectful. She has introduced me as “a friend” of her stepson. I feel it’s time to speak up. Do you agree?
— FED UP IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR FED UP: I am surprised that after all this time your partner hasn’t spoken to his stepmother about this. I agree it is time to bring this out into the open, but only if you can curb your resentment and talk calmly with her.
Tell her her omissions have been hurtful and ask why she seems incapable of acknowledging your relationship with her stepson. Once you have put her on the spot, LISTEN to what she has to say, but resist the urge to strike out. If you can manage that, you will have not only learned something important about her, but you will also have kept your dignity.
DEAR ABBY: People often stress out over the stuff that goes on in daily life and don’t seem to know how to deal with it. Frankly, I don’t know either, because I stress out more than most of the people I know. Do you have any advice on some things I can do to stress less?
— TRYING TO COPE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR TRYING TO COPE: Several things come to mind. Make it your business to get out of the house and walk every day for at least 30 minutes. I find it has helped me to put things into perspective. Look online for some simple meditations and breathing exercises, which can also help to relax you.
If you drink, do so only in moderation. Remember, alcohol can be a depressive and make you feel tired and down. When you are feeling overwhelmed, recite the Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
And if your stress continues, don’t suffer in silence — discuss it with close friends and family, and if necessary, your doctor.
— ANDREWS MCMEEL