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Girlfriend's family ignores partner

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DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend's family randomly stopped speaking to me, and I have no idea why. She and I have been on great terms, and I've never done anything foul to her. Up until recently, every time I would visit my girlfriend's house, I'd get a warm greeting from her mom and younger siblings. Lately when I visit, I'm lucky if they don't completely ignore my existence. What could this be about? -- Cold Shoulder

DEAR COLD SHOULDER: Have you asked your girlfriend what's going on? Chances are, she knows. Did you two have an argument or some other type of friction recently? Sometimes people share with their family about their relationship. Find out what, if anything, your girlfriend revealed to her family about you. Then ask her to double back and speak to them. If the issue between you is resolved, she needs to get the word to them.

Also, she may want to reconsider sharing details of your relationship with her family. Couples go through all kinds of things, but family involvement often makes relationship dynamics messy. 

You can also consider speaking to them directly. Rather than addressing your personal business, you can tell them you miss their hugs. See if you can inspire them to be more open. It's worth a try.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter took a bad fall on the playground about two months ago and broke her arm. When it was time to get her cast removed, she complained that the tool that the doctor was using to remove the cast was scratching against her arm. The doctor told me that she was just being dramatic. When we were home later that night, my daughter showed me a cut going down her arm exactly where the doctor removed the cast. I'm furious. Should I take legal action? -- Protective Parent

DEAR PROTECTIVE PARENT: Did you take a picture of your daughter's arm and immediately contact the doctor about the cut? You didn't mention how much time has passed since this incident. What's most important is to talk to the doctor about what happened and ensure that the cut is healing properly. If you have a photo of it, you can prove that your daughter was telling the truth. Talk to the doctor about how to ensure that your daughter's arm will be OK. Let the doctor know that you expect them to cover the costs, since it was their negligence that created the cut in the first place.

You should also contact an attorney and review your rights and options regarding a lawsuit. In my view, a reprimand is essential. Unless your daughter is terribly injured, I would stop there. 

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