DEAR ABBY: I need some advice on how to handle a delicate situation at work because it's starting to get to me.
One of my co-workers, "Vicki," is overweight. She has been dieting and having some success with it. I support her efforts and am happy for her. However, she constantly makes comments to and about me. I often hear her comparing our looks, and I have heard her saying that we wear the same size. Abby, we don't.
As with many women, I struggle to maintain a positive body image. Vicki's constant comparisons are now shaking my confidence. It is the persistence of her remarks that is getting to me. I don't understand why she feels it is appropriate to comment on my body, size or looks. I didn't ask to be used as a benchmark for her weight loss. Should I say something or keep quiet?
— MEDIUM-SIZED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR MEDIUM-SIZED: Vicki envies and admires your looks. Like it or not, you are her "role model." She is also in denial about the way she actually looks. Because her constant comments bother you to the extent they do, you should definitely tell her she is making you self-conscious and ask her to stop. And if she doesn't comply, ask your boss to get the message across to her that her behavior is inappropriate.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law is insisting that she have my 8-month-old daughter "Mallory's" ears pierced. I am refusing. I do not want Mallory to be uncomfortable during the procedure or afterward. I have enough to worry about without adding fears of infected earlobes or my little one choking on jewelry parts. Mallory is just a baby — MY baby.
My mother-in-law says she will "slip off" and have Mallory's ears pierced and I won't be able to do anything about it. Furthermore, when I said I didn't feel it was necessary to explain why I was against the idea, my father-in-law stood up and told me to get out of his #@&! house. I took Mallory and left.
Two weeks later, they called my husband and asked to baby-sit. They have never apologized. I'm afraid they will pierce my baby's ears if she's left alone with them. What do I do?
— MALLORY'S MOM IN GEORGIA
DEAR MOM: I'll tell you what you DON'T do — you do not allow your in-laws to baby-sit your daughter until you are absolutely sure your wishes about her care will be followed.
DEAR ABBY: For the past 10 years I have put up with my husband's manipulative ex-wife. I am tired of her using their boys as a way to get my husband to do things. Don't get me wrong — I know my husband "has" to do things for his boys. But there are times when she could manage for herself without him.
Abby, this woman still keeps their wedding picture on her fireplace. My question is: Do you think she is still in love with him?
— WONDERING IN HOUSTON
DEAR WONDERING: Whether your husband's ex-wife is still in love with him should be of no concern to you — as long as he is not still in love with her. She may keep the wedding picture on her mantle for the sake of her sons, as proof that at one time she was actually a size 6, or even that she was once loved by someone.
You have nothing to gain — and a great deal to lose — by harboring resentment against her. She will always be a part of your lives because she is your stepsons' mother, and she will be a grandmother to their children. If you are wise, you'll accept it, not obsess and move on.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.