DEAR ABBY: I have been out of the dating scene for a while. I was divorced nine years ago. My children are 27, 19, 16 and 17. My oldest two are married; the other two are still at home.
I recently started dating a guy who is studying to become a psychiatrist, and he constantly evaluates everything I say -- including small talk about my children. How can I stop him without upsetting him over his true passion? Not every conversation has an undercurrent. Sometimes I just want to chat, but he will start asking me questions, and I think I tell him too much because he then picks apart everything I say.
I try to be honest in this relationship, but I have shut up about some things because I don't need him evaluating my past relationships, how I reared my kids, etc. At my age, I really don't have that kind of couch time. We can't even have sex without him analyzing my feelings. I have been alone awhile, but isn't this a bit too much for the psyche? -- USUALLY JOYFUL IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR USUALLY JOYFUL: Your boyfriend's entry into the study of human behavior must be very recent, or he would realize how obnoxious it is when he does what he is doing. The next time he starts analyzing you, remind him that he isn't licensed to practice yet -- and tell him that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. If someone doesn't get that message across to him, I predict that you will be only the first of many to run from this aspiring shrink.