DEAR ABBY: I met the most wonderful man on a dating site. We seemed to hit it off. In fact, we are falling in love with each other. But he isn't ready for an exclusive relationship and still wants to date. He gets on the dating sites when I'm asleep in his bed.
I really care for him, but I don't want to pressure him. He has told me he loves me, but right now he just wants to be friends. He says I should also date, but how do you turn off love? -- SAD AND CONFUSED
DEAR SAD AND CONFUSED: Please don't think I'm unkind, but when a man is falling in love with a woman, he does not creep out of bed in the dead of night to visit dating sites. He also doesn't tell her to date other people.
Although you may love this guy, from where I sit, when he said he "just wants to be friends," it appears he meant friends with benefits. Because you are looking for more than that, the next time he gets out of bed to peruse a dating site, you should go with him -- on your way out the door.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend, "Michelle," who is attractive, intelligent and works as a teacher's assistant in a public school. What I can't understand is, she refuses to go anywhere without her 33-year-old daughter, "Chloe." They even dress alike.
Chloe is pretty and doesn't have a boyfriend. When Chloe goes out with friends, her mother rings her cellphone over and over until Chloe turns it off.
What do you think is the problem? If Michelle and I go someplace, she wants to bring Chloe, or she calls her and has her come to where we are. Chloe complains to me that she wants her freedom, but Mom accuses her of not loving her, and cries and makes her feel guilty.
Chloe is a college graduate. Her mother allows her to work, but she must come straight home afterward. I'm confused, Abby. What can I do? -- SOMETHING'S NOT RIGHT
DEAR SOMETHING'S NOT RIGHT: How sad for Chloe. Michelle's relationship with her daughter is more "smotherhood" than motherhood. It's not healthy for either of them. Your friend appears to be unable to see Chloe as separate from herself -- which is why she wants them to dress like twins and becomes anxious when Chloe is with friends instead of by her side.
The kindest thing you could do for the young woman would be to tell her to discuss this with a licensed mental health professional, because she will need help and support in severing the umbilical cord at this late date. That won't be easy. There will be pain involved for both Chloe and her desperately possessive mother, but if Chloe is going to have an independent life, it has to happen.
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