DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old single mother of a 1-year-old son. My boyfriend wants to change my life. He wants me to delete all my friends and family from my cell phone and says I can see my family only once a month. (I am very family-oriented.) My boyfriend thinks that because I go and see my parents and sisters a lot that I don't "put him first."
I don't know what to do, because my son comes first. I understand the concept that once you find your true love, you move in with him and you're supposed to be happy. But he's never happy. He always finds something to argue about.
I work from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., come home, take care of my son, clean the house, cook dinner and clean up afterward. I am at my wits' end trying to do everything and be a good mother and girlfriend. He loves my son, but he never offers to help me with bills or anything. He never buys me anything, only stuff for himself or my son.
I'm so confused right now, I don't know what to think. Please give me some advice. -- UNCERTAIN IN OHIO
DEAR UNCERTAIN: Gladly. Do NOT allow your boyfriend to limit your telephone contact or visits with friends and family. This is a classic sign of an abuser, and so is constantly picking arguments. You appear to be doing everything in this relationship -- cooking, cleaning, paying the bills. What exactly is he contributing?
A healthy relationship is a partnership in which both members pull their own weight. Unless your boyfriend is prepared to make some serious changes, you should move back with your family.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Felicia," is 33 and still lives at home with her father and me. She's a wonderful person, has a great job and contributes to the house. Her father and I love Felicia and are very proud of her. However, we both feel that she needs her own place.
Every time we bring it up, Felicia says she would like to live here until she marries. Her dad and I have been married for 37 years, but we would like our privacy. What do you think? -- IMPATIENT MOM IN CHICAGO
DEAR IMPATIENT MOM: I think you have been more than patient. The time has come for you and your husband to tell your fledgling she needs a nest of her own. Help her to find one, and do not allow her to stall any longer. You will be doing all three of you a favor.
DEAR ABBY: I love my mother. She and I go out to eat frequently. My problem is she sometimes makes loud comments about people who are seated near enough that they can hear her. I have seen some of them look at us after some of her comments.
Today she did it again, and I asked her either not to talk about the people loudly, or to do it after we leave the restaurant. She replied that she was not talking in that loud a voice, and now she's mad at me and not speaking to me. Was I wrong to ask her to lower her voice? -- UPSET IN UTAH
DEAR UPSET: No. Your mother may have been embarrassed that you corrected her in public. She may also be in denial about the fact that she's suffering from some degree of hearing loss. You were right to tell her that she was being overheard. You would be doing her a favor to insist that she have her hearing checked by an audiologist -- if only to prove you're "wrong."
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