DEAR ANNIE: I recently became engaged to my boyfriend of six years. His family and I get along great, he's my very best friend, and I am so incredibly happy. The bliss, however, is being trumped by one problem.
Before "Kevin" and I got together, he was in a relationship with "Sophia" for four years. She came from a dysfunctional family and, as a result, became quite close to Kevin's mother. Sophia still calls her, sporadically drops by the house, stays in touch on Facebook and delivers flowers on special occasions.
It's been extremely frustrating for me. It is obvious that Sophia doesn't like me, and now that we are engaged, she seems to push herself into Kevin's family out of spite. I am certain that she is no threat to my relationship with Kevin. But it bothers him terribly that his mother is still in such close contact, not only because he knows it makes me uncomfortable, but because he doesn't think it's proper now that I'm going to be his wife.
Don't get me wrong -- I have an excellent relationship with Kevin's mother. She has no daughters, and I want to form a bond with her. But my attempts feel futile because it seems she always chooses Sophia over me.
Kevin has brought this up to his mother, but she defends the friendship. This truly hurts my feelings. It's not my place to say who his mother can be friends with, but I feel I'll always take a backseat when it comes to building a relationship with my mother-in-law. Am I being overly sensitive? How can I avoid feeling second best? -- Frustrated Fiancee
DEAR FIANCEE: As long as you are secure in your relationship with Kevin, you can afford to ignore Sophia. Treat her as you would any friend of the family whom you don't like: You are polite and a wee bit dismissive. She is annoying, but of no consequence. You could even introduce her to some eligible men and shift her focus. We suspect Kevin's mother feels sorry for Sophia. As you become an integral part of his family, and Sophia sees that she cannot be a thorn in your side, Mom's closeness with the ex will fade into something you can handle.
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