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Ask Amy: I suspect my son’s girlfriend wants to marry him quick and be taken care of


Dear Amy: My son has been dating “Anabel” for over a year.

Anabel has never brought my husband or me a card or gift for our birthdays or Christmas. She has never offered to help clean up after a meal, even when my son is helping. I had surgery, and she never asked how it went or how I was feeling.

My biggest concern is her lack of motivation. Anabel’s type of work doesn’t offer medical insurance or benefits. I feel like she is pushing my son to get married because next year she will no longer be on her parents’ insurance.

I think she wants to marry him to be taken care of and quit her job.

We give Anabel gifts, have hosted her family, have supported her at her place of business, and always try to make her feel welcome.

My son sat us down and asked if we liked Anabel because he was thinking of proposing in the next year.

I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize my relationship with him, so I didn’t answer his question directly.

Instead, I asked him lots of questions in hopes that he would think about her qualities to see if she was truly the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

What else can I do?

– Concerned Mom in the Midwest

Dear Concerned Mom: I think you responded well to this very loaded question. The only recommendation I would make would be for you and your spouse to ask, earnestly, “Are you asking if we like Anabel because you have concerns or reservations about the relationship?”

I would then assure him that he needs to make whatever choices are best for him. Marriage is a really high-impact choice to make. You should encourage him to make sure not to respond to any outside pressure.

Dear Amy: I have lunch regularly with a close friend, “Celia.” As soon as we are seated, she will pull out her cellphone and nestle it right next to her fork.

Invariably, Celia gets a call during the meal and grabs her phone while telling me that she’ll let whoever’s calling know that she will call them back. That never happens. The answered call always turns into a lengthy conversation — while I’m sitting across from her stirring my soup.

If Celia doesn’t see that I’m annoyed, she’s not paying attention at all.

I’m pretty sure a caller will leave a message and Celia can return the call as soon as lunch is over. Even if there’s no message, she knows who called and can call them back.

I love my friend. And I will continue to go to lunch with her and wait for her to return to our conversation when she gets a phone call.

My personality makes it extremely difficult for me to initiate a confrontation.

So I’m writing to you in an attempt to let people who are this attached to their phones to give the rest of us a little more consideration when we are together for a meal and conversation.

– iPhrustrated!

Dear iPhrustrated!: A quick story: Several years ago, I was visiting with a good friend. I was idly leafing through a J Crew catalog while she was talking to me. She stopped and said, “Please don’t do that!”

I said, “Oh, don’t worry – I’m listening to you, I’m just glancing at this.”

She responded with a version of: “It’s rude! I want you to pay attention to me.”

Gulp. Right. I’ll never forget how she just went ahead and said what she was thinking and what she wanted. (She was also right.)

Lesson learned – and we’re still very close.

You don’t have to be as direct as my friend was. But I think it would be a service to your friendship if you said, “I have to be honest with you – I wish you wouldn’t take calls while we’re at lunch together.”

Of course, she’ll justify her behavior (just like I did). You can add, “It makes me feel like an afterthought.”

Dear Amy: Your letter from “Living a Lie” really opened up an old wound.

My grandfather always claimed to have been at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. After his death we were looking through his things and noted that he served his entire military service during the war at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

– Enlightened

Dear Enlightened: All military service is worthy service, but I understand why some people have inflated their experiences.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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