Dear Abby: My wonderful boyfriend and I have been together for nearly a year and a half.

Dear Abby: My wonderful boyfriend and I have been together for nearly a year and a half. We have lived together almost since Day One. This is the second major relationship for both of us. (He is divorced). He’s planning a trip back home to visit family and take care of some business deals. I will not be going with him on this trip. When he returns, his mother will be coming with him. The issue is, there’s no definite return date for her. She overstayed her welcome in the past (before we were together) and turned a two-week stay into seven months.

I’m a very solitary person. I like being around my boyfriend and no one else on a regular basis. I don’t mind her coming to visit, but I’m extremely anxious because she hasn’t set a date to return home. I have made clear to my boyfriend that I do not want her staying longer than two weeks, which he is fine with, so I’m not the wicked witch here. I just don’t know how to nicely broach the subject with her and convey that we would like her visit to be on the brief side.

I admit I’m not the most tactful person when it comes to delicate topics. I tend to be blunt and I have been described as “honest to a fault” before. How can this subject be brought up without hurting anyone’s feelings? I want to be able to enjoy time with her while she’s here, not worry about when she’ll leave.

Angst-ridden in New Jersey

Dear Angst-ridden: In light of the fact that you tend to be “plain-spoken,” you should not be the person to discuss this with your boyfriend’s mother. It would be more appropriate for her son to have “the talk” with her so all of you know what the parameters will be and the message is delivered with tact.

Dear Abby: My husband of 42 years passed away two years ago. His children and I get along fine, but when he was alive, they never acknowledged our anniversary. Now that their dad is gone, they send me anniversary cards each year on the date. I find it annoying that they never thought to wish us “Happy Anniversary” while he was alive, which he would have loved. I suspect they just do it to try to stay on my good side and perhaps stay in my will. How do I politely tell them to stop, that their cards only remind me that my darling is gone and they never acknowledged our marriage when it would have actually meant something?

Distressed Stepmom

Dear Distressed: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your beloved husband. After 42 years, the adjustment must be a very painful one. Because you want to be polite — and perhaps maintain a cordial (if not loving) relationship with his children, convey that you would prefer they not send anniversary cards “because they are a painful reminder of his loss at a sensitive time.” RESIST the urge to point out that they failed to acknowledge the occasion during their father’s lifetime.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.