DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old man, deeply and madly in love with a 36-year-old woman who has two kids. I'll call her Whitney. We would both like our relationship to lead to marriage and more kids, but something -- or rather someone -- has put a damper on things. Whitney has been talking to this other man (who she thinks is gay) for quite some time. A few weeks ago, he finally asked her out. She declined, but did not tell him she's involved with anyone else.
When we discussed it, and when I told Whitney he has crossed the line by asking her out, she argued that she is not attracted to him and he's gay, and then she accused me of not trusting her.
I am not a controlling person. I never minded her talking to him before he asked her out. But the fact that he did, and they talk to each other daily and she does nothing to avoid talking to him, makes me uncomfortable. It has shaken my trust in her. This has seriously affected our relationship, although she doesn't realize it.
I don't want to see Whitney get hurt by some guy who may be looking for just one thing. Does this look innocent to you? Can a gay man be attracted to a woman? And more important, can a woman be attracted to a gay man? - - CONFUSED IN LANCASTER, PA.
DEAR CONFUSED: Let me answer your questions in reverse order. Can a woman be attracted to a gay man? Absolutely! I can think of quite a few "out" gay men whom women find attractive. Among them are Rupert Everett, George Michael, Lance Bass, Richard Chamberlain and Neil Patrick Harris.
And gay men can be attracted to -- and have a lot in common with -- women. I know that firsthand. But the attraction has everything to do with common interests, a similar sense of humor and a mutual understanding. It is not sexual. As a good (gay) friend once told me, "Never try to change a queen. It won't work."
Although you say you are not a controlling person, you appear to be insecure in your relationship with Whitney. For heaven's sake, your lady friend has not tried to hide anything from you. She has told you she talks to this man, and how often, and what she has and has not told him. Even if she had a ring on her finger, she has a right to spend time with whomever she wishes.
So calm down and let this play out. The "one thing" he may be looking for may be friendship, and it's something that eventually you could offer him, too.
DEAR ABBY: My teenage daughters went to a birthday party for a friend. It was a slumber party, and on the spur of the moment, one of the girls suggested they play "strip poker." Abby, the host girl's mother not only allowed it, but actually joined the game! The mother is a single parent, and only females were present in the home.
The girls found the game great fun and plan on doing it in the future at slumber parties. I told them that I do not feel this was appropriate, but they reminded me that I have always told them there was no reason to be shy about their bodies with other girls, so I was stumped to explain why I disapprove. I am still not comfortable with the idea of such an activity. Please tell me what you think. -- APPALLED IN CARMICHAEL, CALIF.
DEAR APPALLED: I see no harm in a group of young women playing strip poker at an all-girl slumber party. However, for the host girl's mother to abdicate her role as a parent in an attempt to act like their contemporary was, in my opinion, a lapse of judgment. Tempting as it may have been for this single mother to try to be "one of the girls," she should have refrained because she's not one of the peers.
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