DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old male and my brother, “Brian,” is 14. When I was 9, our parents split up. After a year, Mom realized she was a lesbian. She is married now to a younger woman, and they are starting a family through in vitro fertilization. Mom’s wife is carrying twins — a boy and a girl.
When I first heard about their plans to conceive, I was devastated. After a few months, Mom and I were able to reconnect and talk about it. I’m happy they’re happy, but I’m still uncomfortable with the situation. When the children are born, I am unsure how I will be known. Mom says Brian and I will have “a sister and a brother.”
Brian is excited that he will no longer be the youngest. But at my age, as a business owner and in a serious relationship, I prefer to consider Brian my sibling, not the twins. I will love the babies because they are connected to me, but I’m leaning toward being called their uncle or cousin because the twins will not be my blood relations.
I guess I’m “old school,” and with all the changes I’ve experienced in my life I’m not sure I want all of a sudden to say I have new siblings. Is this OK? — FINDING MY WAY IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR FINDING: I don’t think you have to announce anything when your mother’s children are born. As long as your relationship with them is a loving one, I don’t think the “label” matters.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Patrick,” and I have been dating for a year and a half. He’s an incredibly sweet guy who treats me right. My family loves him and his family loves me. I can’t see myself being with anyone else.
The problem is, he’s very stubborn about certain things — like his health. It’s a constant battle to get him to go to the doctor or dentist. I worry about him sometimes when he is ill. When he insists he doesn’t want to see a doctor, it makes me feel like he doesn’t care about making sure he’s healthy enough to spend the rest of his life with me.
Patrick is my first serious boyfriend, so I’m not sure if this is just a “guy thing” or if it’s just HIS problem. Am I wrong to be upset that he cares so little about his health, or should I let him be? — PROACTIVE IN LOUISIANA
DEAR PROACTIVE: You appear to be wrongly attributing your boyfriend’s reluctance to see a doctor or dentist to a personal rejection. It may be a “guy thing” — or there may be other reasons for it. Have you asked him if he even has a health care provider he could contact, whether he has insurance to cover it, or whether he is afraid of doctors? Some people are — and the same goes for dentists.
It’s important that you know what you’re dealing with. Until you understand the reason for his resistance, you won’t be able to help him resolve the problem.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.