DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 and my parents won't let me date. I try to talk to them about it often, but they are convinced I'm going to get hurt or lose my virginity. I think I'm old enough to have a small relationship. I don't believe in premarital sex, and neither does the guy I like. I know I'm mature enough to date. I don't want to date just because everyone else does. I want to date this guy because we are best friends and we want to see each other, hang out like teens and have a normal relationship.
What can I do to ease my parents into the idea of letting me date him? We have been together for almost two years -- not dating -- just seeing each other at school. We talk by texting. I want to be with him outside of school. Any ideas? -- READY TO DATE
DEAR READY: Like any other "skill," being able to date successfully takes practice. I'd compare it to riding a bicycle. You don't just get on and pedal off -- it happens in stages.
It is obvious that your parents don't want "their little girl" to get hurt, and trust me, on some level you will always be their little girl. But for you to become socially capable/adept, you should be able to start dating in groups. That's how you will learn to handle yourself and the young men with whom you will interact. These lessons are important to learn at your age so you won't be at a disadvantage when you are older. Perhaps this would be a persuasive argument when talking to your parents.
DEAR ABBY: I met my girlfriend a year ago and we are hopelessly in love. She has two beautiful boys, as do I, from a previous marriage. Recently, we moved in together in the house I owned after my divorce from my first marriage.
The problem is we argue every other day about things large and small. The biggest problem is her 6-year-old. She gives him no discipline. If I try to administer it, she has a fit and we argue.
Because she gave up her apartment so she and her children could move in with me, I would never want them to leave. We love each other, but we are both miserable. What should we do? -- LADY WITH THE BLUES IN FLORIDA
DEAR LADY: It's time for you and your girlfriend to agree to mediation so you can reach a compromise about your parenting styles. Start now, because if you don't begin seeing eye to eye, I guarantee that you'll both STAY miserable, and it will undermine your relationship.
DEAR ABBY: We have a co-worker issue and need your opinion on the best way to handle it. We have an all-inclusive policy about lunch. Anyone is welcome to come along.
The problem is one guy who is never satisfied with his food. Never! He always complains, and we suspect he does it so his food will be "comped" (which it has been before). It has reached the point that we no longer want him with us. What's an appropriate way to handle this? -- THE LUNCH BUNCH IN TEXAS
DEAR LUNCH BUNCH: The way to handle it is for one person who is closest to this co-worker to have a private talk with him and tell him that if he doesn't stop complaining, he will no longer be welcome to join you because he has embarrassed every member of "the lunch bunch."
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