DEAR ABBY: When my then-boyfriend asked me to marry him, he didn't have a ring ready, but I happily accepted his proposal. We were in our late 20s and had been dating for almost 10 years. He then took me to the jewelry store so I could select one to my taste and liking (within budget). We took a picture of the ring, and he told me he would bring his mother back to the jewelry shop with him so she could help with the price haggling.
A week later, he told me he had made the purchase and we both couldn't wait for our engagement ceremony as we took the next step in our relationship. On that day, to my surprise, the ring he put on my finger wasn't the one I had selected. However, in front of his family, my family and probably 40 guests, I pretended nothing happened.
I wasn't happy at all and told him later, in private, that it wasn't the ring I chose. His answer was, his mother thought this one would look better (in my opinion, cheaper and tackier) than the one I liked and that I was overreacting. I told him that had he not taken me shopping, I would have appreciated any ring he bought. He brushes me off when I try to discuss it. Why did he take me and then disregard my opinion? Am I overreacting, Abby? -- FOOLED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR FOOLED: You are not overreacting. Your fiance's mother had a lot of nerve. She apparently rules the roost and chose that occasion to assert herself. Worse, it appears her son values her opinion over yours. He owes you an apology.
If this happened recently and you are not yet married to this prize, the two of you should consider making a return trip to that jeweler. Hopefully, this scenario won't be repeated with the selection of the wedding rings.
DEAR ABBY: I want to be a good friend, but I'm at my wits' end. A friend has decided he is going to be a singer-songwriter, and he's terrible. He keeps sending me videos, invitations to watch him perform online concerts, etc. I have tried offering constructive criticism, which he deflects. Now he has recorded a CD, which he wants to send me at his expense. I do not want him to waste his money, and I don't care to waste my time listening to it. Is there a gracious way out of this situation? -- NOT INTERESTED IN THE WEST
DEAR NOT INTERESTED: Yes. Accept the disc, which he is sending at his expense. And when he asks you for a compliment, give him one. In other words, be a friend, not a music critic.
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