DEAR ABBY: I am a 50-year-old woman, soon to marry my longtime partner, “Julie,” in San Francisco. We have the blessing of her family.

Although Julie and I have always gotten along well with my elderly mom, we have not yet told her that we are a couple because we are not sure she understands and accepts gay relationships.

Our friends feel Mom deserves the benefit of the doubt and should be included in this important event in her daughter’s life. If she can’t adapt, so be it – but at least she’d know. Besides, my friends say she’ll find out anyway, sooner or later, and be hurt and angry to have been excluded. What should we do, Abby? – BEWILDERED IN THE BAY AREA

DEAR BEWILDERED: Listen to your friends because they are right. If you and Julie have been partners for a “long time,” the chances are great that your mother already knows the score. Give her the good news and the chance to stand up and be counted. You may be pleasantly surprised, and if you’re not, at least you’ll know where you stand. It’s the honest thing to do, and we’re decades removed from the era when someone’s sexual orientation was a guilty secret.

DEAR ABBY: I just got off the phone with a friend who makes me envious. “Sally” is a nice person with a great attitude. She married an intelligent, confident man who has become successful and has always been crazy about her. She lives in a beautiful home and has never had to work. She has a close and loving family who travels all over the world together, celebrating every occasion.

When she finishes telling me about her wonderful life, she then asks about mine. But, Abby, I just can’t bring myself to tell her about my boring job, my unsuccessful husband, my parents who fight constantly and my average children. So I lie and say that everything is “fine,” and after I hang up I feel like a miserable failure.

Sally is one of my dearest friends, and I would hate to end the friendship, but every conversation with her makes me feel worse. What should I do? – ENVIOUS OF SALLY

DEAR ENVIOUS: First of all, stop measuring yourself and your life against your friend, who may or may not be telling you EVERYTHING that’s going on in her life. The fact that Sally’s house is bigger, her husband makes more money than yours does and they travel often does not make her more “successful” than you.

What you need is an attitude adjustment. Grab a piece of paper, sit down and start listing the blessings in your life, starting with your health and that of your family. Your husband is working and so are you. Many people aren’t so fortunate.

Your children may not be straight-A students or star athletes, but are they productive? Reasonably well-adjusted? Happy? OK, so your parents fight. If they’re still together after battling all these years, could it be the way they communicate?

What I’m trying to help you see is that although your life is different from your friend’s, you are successful, too. And the next time Sally asks you about your life, you should level with her and let her really get to know you.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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