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11:35 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Dear Abby | Girlfriend questions texting from boyfriend’s worried mom

Dear Abby: I have been dating “James” for almost a year. Things have been rough for him recently. His depression has led to school attendance issues, but we got through it.

The problem is James’ mother. She’s well meaning, and she has always been incredibly sweet to me, but she has started texting and questioning me about how I am doing, regarding her son and the “trials” he brings to our relationship (or her perception of them). I appreciate her concern, but it makes me very uncomfortable.

Perhaps she asks out of concern for me, but it seems like she’s trying to speak on his behalf or defend him somehow, which makes me feel awful. How can I explain to her that something which is meant to be as simple as “Are you doing OK?” is hurting me? – Twisted Up

Dear Twisted Up: If James’ depression is severe enough that it is interfering with his education, his mother has a right to be concerned. She may be trying to assess its severity by reaching out to you. On the other hand, “How are you doing?” can be classified as an innocent question.

Because you are uncomfortable with the way these conversations are going, respond that you are fine and ask her how SHE is doing.

Dear Abby: My husband is still working, although he will retire in a few years. We have been in our home since 1987. It is comfortable, but it’s too big for us and too much work now. Our grandkids live four hours away, and we are thinking about moving near them. My son’s in-laws have already relocated from New York.

I am having terrible anxiety about leaving my home. How do other relocators handle the move? I know I should focus on the positive aspects, such as getting rid of our clutter and being near the grands, but I’m having trouble with this. Help, please. – Getting Ready in Georgia

Dear Getting Ready: I’m glad you wrote now, because you have lots of time to plan the move you are considering. If what you will miss the most about your home is the trees, perhaps the over-55 communities in the area to which you are relocating are not for you. Take some time, talk with a real estate agent and explore what smaller homes might be right for you.