Susan Deitz

DEAR SUSAN: My father-in-law recently died, and I was hurt when my sister-in-law introduced my husband's ex-wife (who has remarried) as the daughter-in-law. She made the introduction to a roomful of people paying their respects to me. My solution would have been for my sister-in-law to introduce my husband's ex as his daughter's mother. How should a former daughter-in-law be introduced when the current one is present? -- From the Single File blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Your sister-in-law put her size 7s in her mouth when she was passing out introductions. (Her husband, your brother-in-law, was probably hoping lightning would strike him on the spot so he wouldn't have to live through the next five minutes.) Then again, it's possible that she knew what she was doing, which was an intentional poke in the ribs to you.

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The truth of this situation is a bit convoluted, perhaps a tad embarrassing, but these situations occur often, actually, as people are marrying two and three times. (It's the children of these serial relationships I worry about, their small heads dreaming up wild distortions from misunderstandings never explained.) Your considerate take on all this mixing and matching shines through, clear and kind -- and practical.

DEAR SUSAN: Recently, I met this girl who answered my personal ad on a Russian online dating service. She sent me her photographs, and we email daily. She says she has no phone, so I have no way of calling her. She asked me (after three weeks of our relationship) for $500 toward her airline ticket, passport and visa to come to America. I told her I'd like to meet first in Russia, but she insists on coming here first. Even though she says she makes $90 a month and lives alone with her mother, the story makes me wonder. What do you think is the best move for me?-- From the Single File blog

DEAR BLOGGER: She wants to come to America before you two meet; you want to see her first in Russia. She wants airfare and the rest of her expenses paid; you don't go along with it. Hey, I'm trusting in your viscera. By all means, keep your guard up. Be friendly, but don't discuss money. She wants to come to America. Smart lady. For all you know, she may have many men on the string for $500 a pop. Best to see her when she arrives in the good ol' USA, not before -- and in no way should you be a contributor to her goal. By the way, what's wrong with our own native damsels?