DEAR ABBY: I am 24 years old and engaged to a man who is 54. I love him with all my heart, but I haven't told my father yet.
My fiance takes very good care of me, and we have a lot in common. We get along great. We have been together for three years and have had only one big fight. We can talk about everything. Do you think dating someone twice your age is OK? -- LOVED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR LOVED: Much depends upon the level of maturity of the people involved. Some 54-year-old men are young and vigorous for their ages, and some 24-year-old women are mature in their thinking and level of experience. But you can't entirely ignore the numbers.
In a case like yours, my concern is that you still feel it's necessary to hide something as important as an engagement from your father. Does your father even know about this man? Do you plan to have children? And because your fiance is so much older than you, has it occurred to you that you might wind up taking care of him?
What I think is that you have some serious thinking to do about what lies ahead.
DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter, "Hannah," had a baby last year at the age of 16. She had decided to place her baby for adoption, but changed her mind the day before she gave birth. Hannah's father and I told her we would help because we wanted her to finish high school and participate in school activities.
The problem is, she is out with her friends or at school functions almost every night while we take care of the baby, whom we adore. My concern is, how much help should we be giving her? Should we let Hannah just be a teenager until she graduates?
I think there should be a happy medium between being a teenager and being a parent, but my husband thinks we should shoulder all the responsibility. -- MICHIGAN NANA
DEAR NANA: I could not disagree more with your husband. He is doing his daughter no favors by insisting that you and he shoulder all the responsibility for that baby. Hannah needs to bond with that child. Unless she does, you will be raising it until he or she is an adult. These are important years in your grandchild's development, and your stepdaughter needs to be a part of it. Period!
DEAR ABBY: I'm so upset I can't stop crying. My wedding is in seven weeks. My fiance and I have planned this wedding for nearly a year.
Last week, my aunt told me she has only a short time to live and that she has decided to have her memorial while she is still living. Abby, she picked the day of our wedding.
It is too late and too expensive for us to change the date. We're already getting our RSVPs back. I don't know what to do. It leaves me wondering why she would choose to do this. Please help! -- DENISE IN MUSKEGON, MICH.
DEAR DENISE: It IS too late to alter your wedding plans. Unless your aunt is literally breathing her last breath -- which is doubtful if she's well enough to be planning her memorial -- ask your parents to talk with her and ask her to please reschedule it for another date. Your aunt appears to be extremely self-centered, and no relative should have to make a choice on that day between life and death.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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