Couple's Plans to Move Spark Family Melodrama

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Gregg," and I have been married seven years. We have two children. Gregg was recently laid off, and after doing some research, we decided we'd like to move to Texas where my brother-in-law and his family live. There is more career opportunity for us there, and we have been actively researching careers and housing.

The problem is my father and stepmother are against us moving even two hours away, let alone halfway across the country. We have not told them of our plans yet, but even a casual mention of a long-distance move brought my father to anger and tears for fear that he won't see his only grandchildren and me. His wife made it worse, claiming I was "selfish" for wanting to move away.

Abby, my parents have made their life choices. They have settled down and are happy with their small-town life. How can I get them to understand that this is what we need to do without them making us feel guilty? -- CONFLICTED IN SOUTH DAKOTA

DEAR CONFLICTED: As long as you allow your father and stepmother to make you feel guilty, they'll use guilt to influence the decisions you make. Having a spouse who has been laid off and having difficulty finding employment is a compelling reason to make a move, particularly if there are greater opportunities somewhere else.

My advice to you is to make a list -- as long as possible -- of the advantages your children will have in a larger community, with better educational and cultural exposure, family members around their age they can interact and bond with, etc. Refer to it when your father and stepmother react as you know they will. Let them know they're welcome to visit as often as they get lonely for the little ones, then follow through with your plans.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a problem that is perplexing both of us.

I'm a bartender and work in a very upscale restaurant. A girl who works in my husband's office keeps insisting that she and my husband go on a "dinner date" to my restaurant. She thinks it would be cute for me to wait on them.

My husband has no interest in this girl other than professional and finds it annoying that she constantly pressures him to go on this "date." It has become a source of stress on him.

How can we let her know that this is really "trashy" and it's not going to happen? (She even offered to buy the dinner!) -- APPALLED IN ASTORIA, ORE.

DEAR APPALLED: Your husband's co-worker is either completely lacking in common sense or she has a geranium in her cranium. Continually asking someone on a "date" -- married or not -- is sexual harassment. Your husband should tell her that fact and ask her to drop the subject -- and if she doesn't, his employer should be informed so he/she, or the director of human resources, can put a stop to a possible lawsuit.

A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The object of life is not to be "happy." The object of life is to make society a better place in which to live. Every one of us has something to offer. In the words of G.B. Stern: "Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute."

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

More like Dear Abby