DEAR ABBY: My daughter has a 3-foot-deep swimming pool in her yard. My two granddaughters, ages 5 and 9, have been playing in it all summer with friends their ages.
I am deeply concerned because they are out there alone for hours. They are not supervised by an adult or competent teenager. I'm worried because I know a horrible accident can happen very quickly. Do you think I am being overly protective? -- DISTRESSED NANA IN NEBRASKA
DEAR DISTRESSED NANA: No, I do not. Even adults should not swim alone. If something were to "go wrong" with one of the children in the pool, someone who knows how to react in an emergency -- or recognize that it IS an emergency -- should be present in a supervisory capacity. To do otherwise is child endangerment.
DEAR ABBY: "Graciela in Brazil" said she has been dating a young man for only a month, and that he is pushing so hard for an exclusive relationship that she "sometimes feels suffocated." You advised that his behavior is one of the warning signs of an abuser.
About 10 years ago, I met a woman who is now my ex-wife. I "overlooked" the fact that she initially lied to me about the fact she was married. She left her "controlling" husband, and we entered into an immediate sexual and exclusive relationship (I slept with her the night we met). On a scale of one to 10, our passion level was about a 12.
After three months, she pushed for marriage and I went along. She said, "Let's set a wedding date," even though she didn't know when her divorce would be final. The next time we were shopping, she suggested buying our wedding bands so we would have them when the time came. In spite of the fact I felt things were moving too quickly, I went along with everything because I didn't want to be perceived as noncommittal -- and our passion was boundless.
We were married five days after her divorce was final, even though we'd had some heavy-duty arguments during the 10 months we dated. Those arguments stemmed from one issue: She felt threatened by my past relationships. I couldn't convince her that I had absolutely no contact with any of my former girlfriends. If there was a hang-up on my answering machine, she suspected an old girlfriend was trying to contact me.
I believe, in retrospect, if her first husband was controlling, she saw in me someone SHE could control. I had sent her that message loud and clear when I let slide her lying to me about her marital status when we met.
I know all of this is water over the dam, but I'm curious. Am I off base in believing she was a controlling person herself? -- NEVER AGAIN IN VIRGINIA
DEAR NEVER AGAIN: What a story! I'd say you are right on target with your assessment. I suspect your former wife was terrified of being alone and on her own -- and you were the safety net she grabbed onto. Of course, there were warning signs all over the place, all of which are visible with hindsight.
It's time to pinpoint what need in yourself was filled by allowing her to lie to you and lead you around by the nose. Counseling would be helpful to you in closing this chapter of your life. If you haven't done so already, I recommend you get a referral.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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