DEAR ABBY: I am a 34-year-old woman who recently started dating a 40-year-old man I'll call Vince. We get along great and like each other very much.
The problem is my 83-year-old father. When Mom passed away last year, I was chosen to move back home to look after him. Suddenly I have a curfew -- which I ignore -- and Dad doesn't like me going out with Vince.
If this continues, it will ruin a potential relationship before it has a chance to develop. How can I convince my father I am no longer a child and should be allowed to live my own life while I'm still young enough to have one? -- UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR UNDER HOUSE ARREST: Your father is well aware that you are not a child. I don't know his mental status, but it appears he does not want to lose a companion and housekeeper he can control.
I don't know who chose you to be your father's primary caregiver, but unless you put your foot down now, you will be taking orders from everyone until your father dies.
Work out a reasonable schedule with your siblings or a caretaking service so that you have enough private time for a life of your own. The alternative is your father being cared for by a full-time professional caregiver, and you moving out on your own.