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Dear Ann Landers: This is for "Frustrated in Toronto," who has been dating "Jay" for three years and agreed to postpone their wedding a year because Jay felt uncomfortable leaving his mother. Now she is concerned about the stability of their relationship I was involved with a "Jay" for nine years. His mother also was needy and dysfunctional and controlled him by laying on the guilt. She felt threatened by our desire to create a life together. I can't tell you the emotional damage I suffered during that relationship. I spent two years in therapy and finally understood that it was a problem Jay would have to work out himself.

Two years after I left Jay, I met a solid, sane man. It was as if God was rewarding me for suffering through those bitter nine years. My new love's mother is a delight. We have so much in common that we are more like girlfriends. You told "Frustrated" she must be pretty crazy about Jay to put up with his nonsense. I say if she isn't crazy now, a relationship with a man who is tied to his mother's apron strings will make her crazy.

-- Been There, Done That in L.A.
Dear Been There: Your letter should serve as a blueprint for all women who become romantically involved with men who have domineering mothers.

Psychologists tell us that men tend to marry women who are either very much like their mothers, or the exact opposite. Was this true in your case? If so, which one was it?

In the middle

Dear Ann Landers: I have a 35-year-old son, "Owen," who has been in financial trouble for the past 15 years. During this time, he has been living with his grandmother. She paid off two cars for him and co-signed for another one. Mom is now demanding that I force Owen to repay her the money she has lent him.

I have talked to my mother until I'm blue in the face and begged her to stop lending money to Owen, but she pays no attention. My husband and my brother also have told Mom to knock it off. She ignores them, too. I tried to explain that Owen will never take responsibility for himself as long as he knows someone will rescue him. Mom won't let the bank repossess his car because "he needs it for work."

I'm at my wits' end. I live 1,000 miles away from Mom, but the phone calls from her are becoming more frequent and more unpleasant. I know I can't change my mother, but how can I put an end to these annoying conversations that are mainly about Owen and the money he owes her?

-- Frustrated in New Orleans
Dear New Orleans: It might help if you wrote down a little speech and kept it handy by the phone to read whenever your mother calls. Here's the speech: "Mom, please stop kvetching about the money Owen owes you. I am not going to get involved -- it's between you and Owen. He has become accustomed to you rushing to the rescue, and as long as you continue to rescue him, he is going to lean on you to do it. Now, what are you fixing for supper tonight?"

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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