DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for 19 years. He wants to get married, but I keep putting it off. I was married before; he’s never been married. I haven’t done it because I can’t get over something his mom did to me more than 10 years ago.

I was close with her. Her daughter-in-law and I knew each other from when we were younger, but we never got along. Well, she convinced my boyfriend’s mom that I was sleeping with a friend of theirs, which was a lie. Instead of coming to me asking me about it, she and her DIL came to my house, screaming at me and ordered me to let my boyfriend go so he could be happy and find someone else, since I was messing around. I was so stunned I just said, “Fine!” and told them to leave. My boyfriend was furious. He called his mom and yelled at her. When she realized it wasn’t true, she apologized.

Jeanne Phillips

My issue is, I was more hurt than mad because of how it was handled. Am I being selfish and stubborn? — STILL HURT IN FLORIDA

DEAR STILL HURT: You are neither selfish nor stubborn. You are foolish. If you think you are punishing your boyfriend’s mother by refusing to marry her son (for 19 years!), you are mistaken. It hasn’t affected her at all. I do think you are overdue in finding a way to bury the hatchet with the woman whose mistake was in believing everything she was told.

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DEAR ABBY: Before my husband and I married, we were regaled with stories about the antiques that would come to him because he is the eldest son. We spent many long weekends across the country taking care of the in-laws’ “honey-do” lists, and my mother-in-law often told us this-and-that item would be ours someday.

Well, guess what? They turned around and gave every single one to my brother-in-law. Yes, I realize it’s their privilege to dispose of their property as they wish. But how do we reconcile feeling used? Am I out of bounds because I expected their promise to be honored and remembered? I no longer care to be around them or hear their empty promises. I feel they defrauded my husband by promising tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of silver and furniture, and then handed it all to his brother. Any advice? — SLIGHTED IN LOUISIANA

DEAR SLIGHTED: Ask your in-laws politely why they promised the heirlooms to you and your husband and then gave them to his brother. If they planned to follow through, it should have been put in writing in case something unexpected happened. Unless there is something you didn’t include in your letter, what your in-laws did was terrible. In the future, it would be understandable if you were less at their beck and call when their “honey-do” list needs attending to.

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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.

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