Dear Abby: I have met the most remarkable woman, but after eight months of serious dating, I have realized that she has the worst and most manipulating 10-year-old daughter ever. She constantly claims sickness, and now even mental health issues like anxiety and panic disorder, although they have never been formally diagnosed, to prevent her mother and me from having time together.
Immediately after her mother agrees to her daughter's request and lets her get her way, the kid becomes happy and energetic, and goes back to playing. (I feel she is laughing in my face.) The numerous cancellations and tantrums are very upsetting, and it hurts my feelings when the person I love most in the world sets me aside.
I had considered proposing marriage. I have a 13- and 17-year-old who are both respectful, energetic and happy. They have been through a lot since their mother abandoned us, but they would never consider acting out like this girl.
Last weekend I was asked to bring her requested dinner and then leave, because she wanted Mommy to watch her watercolor. Abby, they are together every day, almost all day, and close relatives refuse to watch the child.
Is a resolution possible? Should I stay or should I go? When do I have the right to say enough is enough? The constant exclusions make me feel insignificant. — Counted out in Kentucky
Dear Counted out: If "close relatives" refuse to watch the child so your lady friend can have a break, there may be more to this story than you have written. The girl is fighting for her mother — and winning. From where I sit, Mama could benefit from some discussions with a child psychologist and lessons in how to say no to her daughter.
Adult relationships are supposed to make both parties feel better, not insignificant. As to whether you should stay or go, I think you would be wise to take a break from this relationship because, as it stands, it is going nowhere.
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Dear Abby: I have a friend who has stopped by unannounced several times. She'll send me a text, but without giving me a chance to respond, she just pops over. One time I was in the middle of studying for an exam and it wasn't a good time. Other times I was busy doing something and was startled when she showed up.
Finally, I mentioned something in a text about how much I liked her as a friend but would really appreciate if she would wait for a response to her text before stopping by. It has been two or three days now, and she hasn't responded. I even said I didn't want to hurt her feelings and hope she understands.
I would think most people feel as I do about unannounced visitors, but I could be wrong. I would like to ask her how she would feel about it, but before I do, I need to know what's "normal." — Busy and bothered
Dear B & B: It is considered normal good manners to ask if it is convenient — and wait for a response — before stopping by someone's home so it will not be an intrusion. You were studying, but many people work from home and also don't want to be disturbed. Others prefer to be "presentable" before they have company. Interesting, isn't it, how many self-centered individuals become hypersensitive when called on their behavior.
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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, California 90069.