DEAR ABBY: I have recently started disclosing to close friends and family that I am asexual (someone who experiences no sexual attraction to any person). For the most part they have been supportive, but my mother and one of my friends are having trouble accepting it. I have told them I do not want children and that I am repulsed by the thought of sexual intercourse, but my mother acts like if I don't have children, I won't be as welcome. She even suggested that I could marry a gay man, so sex wouldn't be an issue. And my friend continues to pressure me into dating, saying I "just haven't met the right one yet."
Abby, I have no clue how to maintain contact with them, as they seem unwilling to let my sexual identity be my business. -- AN ACE IN A HOLE
DEAR ACE: Your sexual identity became their business the minute you told them you were asexual. The problem is that your friend and your mother do not understand what asexuality is -- and many people don't. Please tell your mother for me that marrying a gay man is not the answer because he may want a sex life, something to which he is entitled, by the way. As to your friend, she's well-meaning I'm sure, but misguided.
You are who you are. You're not going to change, and you should not be punished for it. Please try not to be defensive because this is your chance to educate. Answer their questions with patience and kindness and do not let yourself be bullied or emotionally blackmailed into doing anything you are not comfortable with.
DEAR ABBY: After my daughter Jenna's father tried to strangle me in a drunken rage one night, I took her and left. Years later, we are on good terms. I have legal custody. He sends financial support and visits about once a month. My finances, however, are not great.
Because we are not in touch with his extended family, I was surprised when he told me his sister wants Jenna to be a flower girl in her destination wedding. I'm not comfortable sending her alone with her father because of his history of alcohol abuse (which his sister is unaware of). I am not financially able to take her myself.
Is there a solution I'm overlooking? Am I callous for thinking she just wants a cute child as an accessory to her wedding party? -- MOTHER OF THE FLOWER GIRL
DEAR MOTHER: Without knowing your former partner's sister, it would be unfair of me to guess her reason for wanting your daughter in her wedding. However, if your ex is still drinking, you are absolutely right that Jenna should not be traveling with him. Perhaps he would be willing to pay for both of you to be there.
DEAR ABBY: I have an interesting question for you. Is it sexual harassment if a female supervisor at work calls a male employee "Honey"? -- PETER IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR PETER: If that's all there is to it, I doubt it would be considered sexual harassment. However, if you are the employee being called "Honey," because it bothers you, tell your employer privately that it makes you uncomfortable and you prefer being addressed by your given name.