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Dear Amy: I was raised by a single mother. She's an educated, liberal feminist who brought me up to be a strong and self-sufficient woman.

She is loving, open-minded and nonconfrontational. We are very close, even though she lives in another state. Every year she comes to stay at my house for a week or two and the two of us travel to visit other relatives. I always thoroughly enjoy our time together.

My husband is brilliant and extremely successful (but he is insecure about how smart he is). He's physically strong, can fix anything, build anything, do anything he sets his mind to, takes excellent care of our now-grown children and adores me.

My problem is that my husband and mother don't get along. They don't argue, but they struggle to be in the same room.

Once my husband and I were debating about something, and Mother got up abruptly and went to her room. The next morning, she said that he was being mean to me. She worried that he didn't respect me.

Even though I explained that was absolutely not true, she seemed very concerned. When I told my husband why she was uncomfortable, he was hurt.

Mother is coming again soon, and I want to avoid another awkward visit. Do you have any advice on how to bring them closer?

Amy says: First for some perspective. Your mother raised you alone. You don't mention that she has had a long-term spouse or partner, then or now.

If a person has navigated through the world mainly on their own, it can be unsettling to witness a couple debate (or argue). If your mother doesn't spend time around couples who mix it up, it can be challenging to decode the difference between a fight, debate, minor dust-up or prelude to a mutual understanding.

You made a tactical error. If you want your mother and husband to be closer, why did you report your mother's incorrect and upsetting assertion to him? Instead, you should have directed your attention to your mother, to reassure her about your healthy relationship and your household's dynamic.

On to your husband. If he truly can "do anything he sets his mind to," he should be able to be kind and considerate toward his wife's beloved mother. Your husband needs to step up and prove himself capable of at least behaving differently.

Going solo

Dear Amy: My daughter is getting married this summer. Her father died in 2009. I met a man a year later, and he passed away in 2021.

At the reception I am not comfortable walking in and being announced alone. Would it be appropriate to have my stepson and my late partner's son escort me into the reception?

Amy says: The appropriate thing to do is to use whatever configuration works for you and the rest of the wedding party. You being flanked by these two young men sounds like a very nice idea.

Parental confusion

Dear Amy: I loved the letter from the older couple who adopted a young child. I adopted a day-old infant at age 52. My son is now 18.

The couple wrote about drawing surprised looks when they introduce themselves to people who know their son. I have faced the same shock when I inform curious folks that I'm a parent, rather than a grandparent.

The letter gave me comfort, knowing that I'm not the only one who frequently has to explain my relationship to my child.

Amy says: I've heard from many older adoptive parents — all happy.

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