DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman hoping to find "The One." But I have come to realize that I'm not the normal female. I don't get manicures or go shopping. (I hate shopping!) When I meet a guy, he likes that I'm "me," but if we get serious, then I'm either "too independent," "too outspoken" or "not girly enough."
I don't want to change myself or pretend to be someone I'm not. One minute they like that I'm independent and can fend for myself; the next they don't like that I don't depend on them to pay bills, etc.
Why is it always a double standard? Men like strong women until they are with one. Then they can't handle it. Maybe I'm too much for the men where I live. Is it possible for me to find someone? -- INDEPENDENT FEMALE IN LOUISIANA
DEAR INDEPENDENT FEMALE: Welcome to the wonderful world of dating. While some may think of dating as a popularity contest, it's really more like sifting for a gold nugget. It takes a lot of people years to strike gold -- and it's the same with dating. Is it possible to find someone? Absolutely! But it takes time, stamina and a sense of humor to survive the process.
DEAR ABBY: I had a baby girl a month ago and I live with my in-laws. My husband isn't here right now because of his job.
They are great and very helpful, but I never have any private time with my daughter. Every time she cries, my sisters-in-law pick her up. When she wants to sleep, they always take her away from me to put her to sleep. Even when I breastfeed, they are always in the room with me.
I can't seem to tell them no or ask them to get out of the room. I mean, they are very helpful, and they are leaving in a month for another country, so I understand they want to be with her as much as they can. However, I would still like some time alone with my daughter. Advice? -- NEW AT THIS IN HOUSTON
DEAR NEW AT THIS: As a mother, it's up to you to assert yourself and do what is right for your baby. Find the courage to tell your in-laws that you are grateful for their assistance but want privacy when you nurse the baby. It is important that your daughter bond with you, and if your sisters-in-law are always tending to her needs, it may be more difficult for you when they leave. I'm sure your pediatrician would back you up.
DEAR ABBY: Would it be OK for an 80-year-old man to take a 50-year-old woman to supper? We often talk together at church. -- LOU IN WISCONSIN
DEAR LOU: Only if she says yes.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)