DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for more than a year and recently started dating a very nice man, "John." My eldest daughter and her children live with me. I'd like to be able to invite John over to our house, but my daughter doesn't want "strange men" around her kids, which I understand. I tried suggesting that she meet John before assuming that he is a strange man, but she's hesitant about meeting him.
Abby, I'd like to be able to spend some nights at home with him instead of always going out. It hurts because I have allowed the father of her children to live with us, yet I can't have someone I care about visit me at the home I work hard to pay for.
Please, Abby. I need advice on how to make my relationship with him and her work. -- STRESSED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR STRESSED: I wish I had more information about your daughter and her attitude. Did she disapprove of your divorce from her father and harbor hopes that you will reconcile? Could she be worried that if you and John become serious, she will have to find another place to live? That she'd refuse to even meet him seems peculiar.
It was generous of you to allow her children's father to live under your roof. (Has he left yet?) Notice that I said "under your roof." If you want to entertain a guest, as the person who pays the mortgage, that should be your privilege. If that makes her uncomfortable, perhaps it would be better if she took the children to their father's or another relative's place for the evening.
You are entitled to live your life without your daughter controlling you, but it appears that may be exactly what she's trying to do.
DEAR ABBY: I am a very good swing dancer. I'm 22 and have been doing it since my sophomore year of high school. When I dance I feel alive and free.
My boyfriend of two years, "Jonah," whom I love dearly, isn't good at it. But he says he wants to learn so we can dance together.
We're going dancing this weekend and, truthfully, I don't want to go with him. When I asked him if it would be OK if I danced with some other dancer friends as well as with him, he said he was insulted and hurt by the question, and it would make him too jealous. I explained that I want to help him learn when we take lessons, but in the meantime, I want to dance freely.
I have ignored this issue for two years because I knew it would lead to a conflict. Should I suppress my love of dancing until Jonah is at my level or follow my heart and dance my socks off? -- BALLROOM BETSY
DEAR BALLROOM BETSY: How is Jonah doing with those dancing lessons? Has he even started? What if it turns out he has two left feet?
That he can't stand the idea of you dancing some of the dances with anyone else is a sign of insecurity. Are you willing to give up swing dancing to please him? If the answer is no, it may be time to change partners.