Dear Annie: I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a year and a half. We are both divorced. He's in his late 50s, and I'm in my late 60s. His daughter is in her early 20s. When she's with us and there's a conversation, she will talk directly to her father with an occasional glance to me. Even her body language is telling. If we're standing up, she will step between us to make sure her back is toward me while she talks to her dad. This has happened numerous times — to the point where it has made me very uncomfortable.
He lost his adult son about four years ago in an accident, so I see where he's at as far as being closer to his daughter. But I don't know how to handle the way she is with me around. I try not to take it personally, but after a while, I started to believe that she is doing this deliberately. I have tried to engage in the conversation to be a part of it, but she has a way of maneuvering things so that once again, she is talking directly to her dad and I am excluded.
Help! I don't know what to do. — Feeling Left Out
Dear Left Out: While your boyfriend's daughter's behavior is certainly rude, it is not worth confronting her about it directly. Remember, she is in her 20s, and you are in your 60s. Try and be the bigger person, and cut her some slack. She recently lost her brother, and I can't tell in your letter where her mother is. That is a lot of loss for a young woman to deal with. Be compassionate and as kind as possible to her.
When you are alone with your boyfriend behind closed doors, tell him how much her behavior hurts your feelings. Maybe he could offer you some insight as to why she is behaving this way. You might also ask him to talk to her and encourage her to give you a chance.
Dear Annie: Here's another houseguest problem. We live in the country, where it's beautiful, and we have many visitors. They typically stay for at least three days but never bring more than one or two bottles of wine.
Because we grow a lot of our own food, they think our groceries don't cost very much. If they do bring something, they go through the fridge to take back whatever we haven't eaten. We love the visits and don't mind the length of the visits, but how do I suggest that they contribute more to the table? — Feeling Used and Abused
Dear Feeling Used and Abused: There is a first time for everything, and now is that time. If you love their visits and don't mind them staying, then tell them exactly what you would like them to contribute. Remember, people are not mind readers. The best way to communicate what you want is to say it.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]