DEAR ABBY: My fiancée and I have been together for four years. We live together. Recently, I was talking to him about mental health and the benefits of therapy, which I firmly support. He said he thinks it’s a waste of time. When I asked why, he replied that it hadn’t worked for him. I asked what he meant by that (I wasn’t aware that he had ever even been in therapy), and he said he went when he was 12 or 13.
After that, he clammed up. He wouldn’t discuss why he went or share any details at all. Normally, we can talk about anything. I feel like if it hadn’t been important, he wouldn’t have reacted that way.
Since then, I have been feeling distant from him because of this. I’m not angry, and I don’t want to force him to tell me anything, but as his future wife, I’m concerned that he would keep his past from me.
I would like for him to at least open up about the basics. I want us to be close, but I don’t want to invade his privacy or make him feel disrespected. Should I try and forget that he said anything at all? – Torn in Georgia
DEAR TORN: No, just wait a few weeks before you ask him why he reacted the way he did. By then he may be better able to articulate it. You should be aware before you marry him of what the issue was, particularly if it involved depression or molestation.
DEAR ABBY: Earlier this year, my stepmother made it a goal to lose weight. So far she has made no changes in her diet to help her accomplish that goal. She eats lots of fatty foods, uses lots of salt and eats almost no fruits or vegetables.
I feel Dad enables her because he does nothing to encourage her to eat healthier. He, on the other hand, eats very healthy – almost the opposite of what she does. He rarely eats anything fatty and uses salt sparingly. He also eats fruits and vegetables every day.
My stepmother’s weight is an issue. She has several health problems that would improve greatly if she lost weight. I would like to say something to her about her diet, but don’t know how without offending her. I know she would take it personally, and it would make our relationship difficult. What should I do in this situation? – It’s A Weighty Issue
DEAR WEIGHTY ISSUE: I think the best approach would be to talk about this with your father. Tell your dad you are concerned because your stepmother’s weight problem is affecting her health and suggest they consult a licensed nutritionist (RDN) about “tweaking” her diet to help her to reach her goal. Because the topic is sensitive, it would be better if he broached the subject with his wife rather than you. While he’s at it, he could also suggest some light exercise activity to start her moving.
DEAR ABBY: How do you tell a well-dressed, sophisticated woman that she has a booger or a hair hanging out of her nose? I have encountered this problem more than once, and I am embarrassed for them. – Barb in California
DEAR BARB: If you are in a group, take the woman aside and give her the news privately. While she may be embarrassed, I’m sure she would also be grateful that you cared enough to clue her in. (The same goes for someone trailing toilet paper on her shoe, or worse, down the back of her pants.)