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DEAR ABBY: I am 21 and about to graduate from college. I have lived at home these last four years partly because my dad didn't want me to go away. He never said it, but he made up reasons to make me stay at home. I was 17 and being manipulated and controlled. I tried to explain to him that I wanted to go away to learn independence, but he said I wasn't mature enough.

Now that I am about to graduate, I have been offered a job with a company in California. I am afraid to tell my parents about the news. I know that it's my life, but my father is a master of psychological manipulation. I want to finally get away from my parents' strict controlling and financial strings and start a stress-free life of my own. How do I explain this without them manipulating me all over again? -- SOON TO BE A COLLEGE GRADUATE

DEAR GRADUATE: First, make up your mind that you are leaving. When you tell them, be sure to say how grateful you are for the love and support they have given you, but that you have been offered a job in the field for which you have studied and are now well-prepared enough to fly on your own.

Set a date to leave and do not allow yourself to be dissuaded, whether because of a guilt trip or any other manipulation. I'm not saying it will be emotionally easy, but for your own sake, you must do it.


DEAR ABBY: I have a single daughter in her early 30s. She's active in her church, goes out with friends and spends time with family. She's very attractive and has a wonderful personality.

Her siblings, cousins and friends are all married and most of them have children. She wants her own family and has tried the usual dating sites, but never gets any results.

I try to keep her spirits up. Her happiness is most important to me, not her marital status. How can I help her? I don't want to keep telling her the right one will come along when she wants a boyfriend now. -- SINGLE GIRL'S MOM IN GEORGIA

DEAR MOM: Your daughter should start by asking her siblings, cousins and friends why they think she's still single when she wants so much to be married. Could the solution be something as simple as tweaking her profile? It may be that she needs to expand her interests and activities so she'll be out in the community more than she is.

If her friends and co-workers aren't already aware, she should ask if they know someone nice who's unattached. Who knows? One of them might have a cousin. Professional organizations having to do with her field of employment can also be fertile ground for prospecting.

People who are visible and passionate about the activities they're involved in attract positive attention, which increases the likelihood of meeting someone eligible, or meeting someone who knows someone. When all is said and done, finding Mr. Right is usually a matter of luck and timing.

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