DEAR ABBY: I am frustrated and angry over a situation that should be fun and happy. My husband, "Rick," and I are planning a trip with our two children next month. We will visit family while we are there, but they don't have room for us to stay in their home.
Rick wants to bring his mother with us. It will be a tight fit in our car, but I don't have a problem with that. What bothers me is that Rick wants her to stay with us in our hotel room.
I am a very private person. I have a problem sharing such close quarters with her. There is no privacy in a hotel room!
I offered to get two rooms, but he feels I am being unreasonable. I feel three adults plus two children is a lot to pack into a small hotel room.
Am I being unreasonable? Or should I just accept it and deal with being miserable? -- FRUSTRATED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Although there may be exceptions, as a general rule, adults need their privacy. Frankly, I am surprised your mother-in-law would be willing to go along with such an arrangement. This is a vacation, and you should not be miserable when you're supposed to be enjoying it.
A better solution would be to get two rooms, and the children should bunk with their grandmother. That way you and your husband could enjoy some private time together.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend for seven years. We have no children together, but he has two young children from a previous relationship whom I have been raising as my own. They call me "Mom," but they know I'm not their biological mother. Their mother has not contacted them -- or cared to -- since the younger one was just months old.
My fear is now that the kids are getting older, they may want to form a relationship with her later on. I don't want to seem selfish, but they are my kids. Any girl can have a baby, but it takes a real woman to be a mom. How should I handle this when that time comes? -- DREADING THE FUTURE IN ARIZONA
DEAR DREADING THE FUTURE: It is natural for children to want to know who their biological parents are; that's the reason adoption records are no longer sealed. You appear to fear that your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend will want to swoop in and steal your maternal spotlight. From all indications, it's not the case; you are the only mother they know.
If the children want information about their birth mother, the truth should not be kept from them. Meeting her does not guarantee they will love you any less. Worrying about it is self-defeating.
DEAR ABBY: What is the protocol for in-person conversations vs. phone interruptions (either via text or call)? When talking with someone, I feel it's rude for the other individual to respond to voice or text messages. Can't people take a break long enough to actually have a real live conversation? How do other readers handle this? Do they walk away? Patiently wait? Or speak up? -- TECHNOLOGICALLY OVERLOADED IN VIRGINIA
DEAR OVERLOADED: The best approach is the direct approach. Tell the person, "I wish you wouldn't do that."
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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