Q: I’m on the verge of 30, and my fiance has a huge issue with the fact that I still cuddle with my mom. From what he says, his family isn’t wild about it, either.
Mom has suffered a great deal of loss in her life. She has lost all of her immediate family (aside from her kids) to cancer. We were all caretakers for these family members, doing in-home hospice, and we have formed a unique bond.
My fiance has never even been to a funeral, so it’s hard for me to explain this to him. Mom was born in a country in Europe where hugging and lots of affection are natural.
I live out of state, but when I’m home I will put my head on Mom’s shoulder and cuddle with her while watching a movie. Sometimes in the morning I’ll bring her a hot cup of coffee, put it next to her bed, and jump in with her and her dog. We joke, laugh, cuddle until we have to get up. Is this something I need professional help for, as certain people have had the nerve to tell me? — Affectionate in Albany, N.Y.
A: It should be clear to you by now that you are engaged to a man who comes from a family that isn’t comfortable with physical demonstrations of affection, and is quick to judge others. Treasure the closeness you have with your mother while you have it because, after she’s no longer with you, that special kind of affection will be permanently over.
For your fiance or his family to suggest there’s something wrong with cuddling with your mother, or that you need “professional help” because you do it, is both sad and wrong. Many people would find the relationship you share with her to be enviable, and I am one of them.
Q: I am a 27-year-old man dating a woman the same age. “Kelli” and I have been happily together for two years.
My sister’s recent wedding prompted me to start ring shopping. My sister used this opportunity to come forward “on behalf of the family” to tell me marrying Kelli would be a mistake. She proceeded to spout off two dozen reasons why we shouldn’t be together, ranging from Kelli’s lack of social graces to her haircut. Then she gave me an ultimatum to choose between Kelli and her.
Things have calmed down in the weeks since, but I am concerned my family will never trust my judgment and will mistreat Kelli. I have never been treated so well by a partner, and I don’t want to lose her. Please give me some feedback. — Stuck in the Middle in Maryland
A: To say that your sister’s outburst was out of line would be an understatement. That she would demand that you “choose” between her and your girlfriend is ridiculous.
Because you are serious about Kelli, rather than regard what your sister said as a policy statement from the rest of the family, ask them how they feel about your girlfriend. Some may like her; some may not. But you should not decide whom to marry based on anyone else’s opinion other than your own. They don’t have to live with her; only you do.
P.S. Mature adults do not allow anyone to abuse their spouses.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.