DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old daughter has been dating a wonderful young man for two years. He's 21, almost 22. He treats her exceptionally well.
She has decided on a whim that she has "an itch" to know what it's like to "be with" other people! (They were each other's first everything.) I do understand that thought or "itch," but I don't feel it NEEDS to be acted upon.
When she told him, it broke his heart. When I asked him if he was OK, he responded, "No, but I will be. I just want her to be happy." It brought tears to my eyes. He's such a wonderful young man.
My daughter has no idea what a huge mistake she's making. Of course I want to support her no matter what, but I feel her actions are mean and selfish. How do I convey this to her but also be supportive? -- EMOTIONAL MOM IN BALTIMORE
DEAR MOM: It is better that the boyfriend knows your daughter's true feelings. Having said what she did has freed him to move on.
Tell her you are glad she confided in you, you think she had a solid gold winner in the young man she has been with for the last two years, and you will always be there to emotionally support her if she needs it. That's all you can do at this point.
DEAR ABBY: Have people now decided they cannot travel without their dogs?
My sister and her husband take an annual trip to visit my parents, who live six hours from my family. Because they pass near our town, they stop and visit with us, too. I love seeing my sister, but they bring their large dog and expect us to keep our Siamese cat locked up while they're here. (Our kitty is terrified of dogs.) They tend to stay at least four or five days, during which time we must keep our cat in our bedroom with his litter box and food.
Their dog is sweet, but he makes a big mess when he eats, and they don't scoop his poop until the end of their visit. Once they're gone, I vacuum up dog hair for weeks.
Any questions I ask -- "Could you wipe up 'Rover's' dinner?" -- are met with either "In a minute" (never) or "He's such a messy eater. Ha ha!" When I tried to be frank about the problem of having to lock our cat up and the kibble all over the floor, my sister got upset and told our parents we were "anti-dog people" who didn't appreciate their efforts to visit family.
Any suggestions on how to deal with these visits? I don't want to cause a family feud over a five-day visit every year, but I'm beginning to dread them coming. -- OVER IT BIG TIME
DEAR OVER IT: If you haven't told your parents what you have written to me, you should because they should hear your side of this. Perhaps they can get through to your nervy sister that what she's doing is rude, inconsiderate and an imposition. Then tell your sister you would love to see her, but if she's bringing Rover with her, you can accommodate her for ONE night, not five -- and repeat the rules she must follow while she's there.
DEAR ABBY: I gave my mom a surprise 90th birthday party. My cousin and his wife and their two adult children and three grandchildren came. I paid $23 a head for a sit-down dinner. Mom was given a scented candle from all of them, but the kicker is my cousin sells them, so it cost them nothing. Is there any way I can tell them how cheap they are without causing a war? -- UNFAIR IN THE EAST
DEAR UNFAIR: I don't recommend you broach that subject the way you presented it to me. It would have been better if more thought had been devoted to selecting a gift, but what you paid for the dinner should have no bearing.
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