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Baggage Check: Meet-the-parents makeover; mourning doesn’t become her

Q: My partner of 18 months and I are gearing up to meet her parents the next time they visit. I have always felt supported by her, but now she is overthinking everything and seems to want me to change my hair, my clothes, and is picking apart little things I do and say. I know she’s nervous, but I shouldn’t have to change for her parents. My parents like her the way she is. And if they didn’t, well, who cares?

A: Whether it’s because she sees her parents so rarely that she feels the need to dwell on minutiae like bangs, or whether there’s a power dynamic that creates a lot of self-doubt, your partner is stressed out about the situation. So try to hear her concerns, if she’s willing to share them.

And you should tell her specifically why her antics make you uncomfortable: “I understand you’re nervous, but it makes me even more nervous when I feel like you’re trying to change me. I promise to do my best to make a good impression. But I will still be myself, and I think that should be good enough.”

Q: My grandmother was an extremely cruel woman and never did a kind thing for me while she was alive. Her legacy to me is being hypersensitive about my weight and having issues with my self-esteem. Now that she has passed away and the family is planning a memorial service, I feel it is hypocritical of me to go, but I am under a lot of pressure to do so.

A: Of course, this is your decision to make. But remember that funerals are for the living, too. To the extent that your presence might provide comfort to your parents, siblings, aunts or uncles, then attending is something worth considering.

Being present at someone’s funeral need not serve as an endorsement of that person’s character.

(Andrea Bonior is author of “The Friendship Fix.” For more information, visit drandreabonior.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @drandreabonior.)

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