DEAR ABBY: I do online dating. For safety, I use an alias. I look much younger than my 43 years, so I went out with a 29-year-old who thinks I'm 33. I have horrible luck with relationships and didn't think this one would be any different. Boy, was I wrong! We have been dating three weeks now.
How do I tell him I'm 43, have two kids he doesn't know about and a different name? Or should I just break it off now? -- INCOGNITO IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR INCOGNITO: Do not "just break it off" with no explanation. Tell the man what you told me -- that you have had such poor experiences with online dating that you used an alias, that you "fudged" about your age and that you have children. If it's a turn-off for him, you need to know it before you become more emotionally involved.
P.S. Because many people on dating sites don't tell the whole truth, it's possible he not only won't be shocked but will have a few things to fess up about, too.
DEAR ABBY: My 37-year-old son, "Dave," has two children, a daughter who is 18 and a son who is 10. He's a single parent.
Until she was 15, my granddaughter, "Nicole," was the perfect child. Then she started getting into trouble, stopped going to school, ran away repeatedly and caused our entire family a great deal of stress. She was arrested at 17 for credit card fraud and was caught soliciting.
Dave has decided he never wants to see Nicole again because of her actions. He has given me an ultimatum. Either I have him in my life or I have her, but not both. He doesn't even want me to talk to her on the phone. He says that Nicole "killed a part of him" by doing everything she did, and me talking to her would be like talking to my son's murderer.
Please tell me what you think. I understand how hurt my son is and don't want to hurt him further, but I don't think he should tell me what I can do. -- FLORIDA GRANDMA
DEAR GRANDMA: I agree with you. Your son may have written Nicole off, but he does not have the right to dictate that you must do the same. You may see and speak to whomever you wish, and that includes the granddaughter you obviously love. However, by maintaining contact with her, there may be a steep price to pay, not only because it may estrange you from your son, but also because your granddaughter is a deeply troubled girl.
DEAR ABBY: If you're walking down a hallway with a full plate of hot food and someone who is texting comes around the corner and bumps into you, sending your food to the floor, who should clean up the mess? And should the texter be obliged to reimburse the victim whose lunch was lost? -- SPILL SURVIVOR IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR SPILL SURVIVOR: Since you are asking me, I suspect that the person who bumped into you took no responsibility for what happened.
People who perambulate are supposed to watch where they are going. That the texter didn't offer to reimburse you for the meal or at least help clean up the mess shows a distinct lack of class. While the texter should have felt obligated to help, there is no way to "compel" someone to do the right thing.
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