DEAR ABBY: I am dating a man, "Richard," who is significantly older -- 17 years, actually. I'm in my mid-20s. I have no problem with it, as I have always been attracted to men who are older and have their lives together.
My parents are cool with it, but I know they have their reservations. Richard is not a sugar daddy; I don't love him for his money. I have my own success. I don't have "daddy issues," as my father is an amazing person who has raised me and my siblings well. My parents are still together and are great role models.
My friends can't find anything in common with Richard when we all hang out. It seems everyone around us is giving us grief -- including his parents. I understand the concern, but how can I convince everyone that I'm happy and willing to take this relationship wherever it goes? -- AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
DEAR AGE: The way to do that is simply to be happy and take the relationship one step at a time. While you're doing that, accept that relationships with this kind of age disparity are not without challenges. The friends you have now may never be comfortable around Richard, and you may have to make new ones closer to his age. Also, the women may look askance at you for being so young.
These things can be overcome. What bothers me about this scenario is that this man's parents are weighing in. By now one would think they would have accepted that their son is an adult and capable of making his own decisions about the women in his life.Read more in: Love & Dating | Family & Parenting | Friends & Neighbors
DEAR ABBY: A good friend and I are having a disagreement. My 17-year-old son has a 16-year-old girlfriend. I know they are sexually active.
I spoke to my son and asked if she's on the pill. He said her mom refuses to put her on the pill. I gave my son $10, had a long talk about unwanted pregnancy, and told him to buy a box of condoms every few weeks and bring me the receipt so I know the money is being spent on condoms.
My problem is, my friend disagrees with me about what I did. She accused me of encouraging them. If I had a daughter, I'd buy the pill for her, so why not pay for condoms for my son? Who is right and who is wrong here? -- MISSOURI MOM
DEAR MISSOURI MOM: The girl's mother may think that by not providing her sexually active daughter with birth control, she is discouraging her from having sex. Clearly that hasn't happened. Of course you are right to make sure your son doesn't impregnate his girlfriend. Neither one of them is ready for the financial and emotional responsibility of a child.
Something I'm unclear about is why your friend is trying to guilt you out of it, when she should be minding her own business. Please tell her I said so.Read more in: Teens | Family & Parenting | Sex & Gender
DEAR READERS: Today we remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was martyred in the cause of civil rights in 1968. His words ring as true today as when he first spoke them: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations