DEAR ABBY: My 40-year-old son signed up with an online dating site. He has a 17-year-old son and has never been married. During his initial contact with one woman, she mentioned she had several kids and my son asked if they were all by the same father. She said he was out of line to ask that question!
I realize people today think one's sexual history shouldn't matter, but doesn't my son have a right to know how many other men he's going to be involved with if he becomes involved with her? How does one find out this kind of information relatively soon into the relationship? Waiting until he knows her better seems like a waste of both parties' time if he's not interested in someone who brings several other families into the relationship.
Relationships are hard enough when a man brings his family and a woman brings her family together in the marriage. It's harder when the man and woman have exes. Each ex increases the level of difficulty to make the relationship work. Love is a choice, and it would be painful for my son to give up a young lady he really cared for because he found out after a few dates that a future with her involved four or more baby daddies. -- OUT OF LINE IN ARIZONA
DEAR OUT OF LINE: Although it might be "painful" for your son to give someone up after a few dates, he should make the effort to get to know the person before asking a question like the one he posed to a complete stranger. Frankly, I don't blame her for being offended, because it implied he thought she was promiscuous.
Your son fathered a child with a woman he didn't end up marrying. It happens. What if the same thing had happened to her, but more than once? One would think that as a mature adult, if he had feelings for someone, he would continue the relationship and see where it led. And why are you the one who wrote to ask me this and not your son?
DEAR ABBY: We are all familiar with the rules of who pays for what in a wedding. Usually the bride's family pays for certain portions of the wedding and reception, while the groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner, among other things.
But what are the rules for same-sex marriages? My daughter and her girlfriend are getting married, and I'm confused about the financial etiquette. Is everything split evenly? -- MODERN DAD IN LOUISIANA
DEAR MODERN DAD: According to Steven Petrow, the LGBT etiquette author, there are few set rules about gay weddings. Your only "requirement" is to provide them with your love and support.
Many couples today, both gay and straight, foot the bill themselves. You might offer a gift to help them pay for the flowers or rehearsal dinner. However, like any responsible couple, your daughter and her intended should plan a wedding that is within their budget.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)