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IGNORE INTERFERING MOTHER-IN-LAW

Dear Ann Landers: I am in love with a 25-year-old man who has a 4-year-old daughter. This child is precious to me, and so is he. "Myron" and I have been engaged for a year and are planning a wedding this fall. Everything is going smoothly, except for one thing -- his mother. I used to get along well with "Arlene." In fact, I knew her before I knew Myron, and we were quite close. When I first began to date her son, Arlene was very supportive. Suddenly she turned controlling and unpredictable. I cannot explain the change in her.

Three weeks ago, Arlene and Myron got into a fight about his daughter. Myron told her she is overly involved in his daughter's life and needs to back off. I tried to stay out of it, but she went after me, saying it was my fault and that I am not responsible enough to be a stepparent. Myron stood up for me. He said he was going to marry me regardless, and she had better get used to the idea.

Arlene has since apologized to Myron, but not to me. I am hurt and angry, and tempted to call the whole thing off. I am worried that her interference will destroy our relationship. Arlene refuses to talk to me, so there is no way to discuss the problem with her. I have told Myron that his mother doesn't have to like me, but I want her to respect my position in the family. Should I go ahead and marry Myron, knowing that his mother is bound to be a serious problem? I can already see the storm clouds gathering.

-- Nikki in Georgia

Dear Nikki: Do not allow Myron's mother to destroy your life. The woman sounds unwell, but that is her problem, and you should not make it yours. Of utmost importance is that Myron stood up for you and informed his mother that he is going to marry you -- regardless. That took courage.

Be prepared for some rough times, but so long as Myron is at your side, you will weather the storm. When Arlene sees that she can't win this one, she will pull in her horns.

Only a coincidence

Dear Ann Landers: Four weeks ago, I found out I am pregnant with my first baby. I am very excited about it, and so is my husband and his family. One of my very close friends, "Nadia," just informed me that she is pregnant, too. I am disappointed that our delivery dates are so close. I wanted some time to relish this moment and be in the spotlight. Now, everyone is excited about her pregnancy and has forgotten about mine.

Nadia has always been right behind me whenever I do something. She was engaged a month after me, bought a house three months after we did, and now she will be having a baby just when I am expecting mine.

Why is she competing with me this way? I am sick and tired of it. I know this may sound selfish and immature, but the woman is driving me crazy. Please help me find a way to feel special about this upcoming blessed event.

-- Upset by a Copycat Friend Out West

Dear Upset: I have the feeling you are paying much more attention to what goes on with Nadia than she is paying to you and your life's events. If her delivery date is close to yours, she is not "copying" you. It was a coincidence.

Concentrate on the joy of the blessed event, and deep-six the negative stuff.

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

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