DEAR ABBY: I am a 54-year-old divorced father of one daughter. I'm fit, look good for my age and earn a good income as a consultant. I'm not rich, but I own a condo and have a sizable retirement fund.
I have a strong desire to remarry, but I have some "baggage." My daughter, "Danielle," is bipolar. She has done nothing since graduating from high school last year but get into trouble. Danielle has been arrested for drugs and stealing, and hangs out with a rough crowd. My ex-wife does not have the inner strength to throw her out, which would probably be the best thing for her. This is out of my control, but still, women I date lose interest in me when they learn about my daughter.
I hate to lie, but I think I may have to start when we trade information about our children. Theirs are often very accomplished, so the contrast is terrible. Should I make up some half-truths until the time is right to tell the whole story? I'll follow your recommendation. -- EMBARRASSED IN VIRGINIA
DEAR EMBARRASSED: Your daughter suffers from a mental illness. She belongs in treatment, not on the streets. That your ex-wife hasn't thrown her out isn't a reflection of weakness, but a measure of her strength of character.
You and your ex could both benefit from joining a support group -- and I have one for you. It's the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Since it was founded in 1986, it has grown to more than 1,000 support groups nationwide, and offers advice and online information for persons with depressive and manic-depressive illness and their families. To find a chapter near you, call toll-free (800) 826-3632 or visit its Web site: � HYPERLINK "http://www.dbsalliance.org" ��www.dbsalliance.org�.
Under no circumstances should you concoct any "half-truths" in an attempt to cover up your situation. A woman who would write you off because you have a sick child doesn't sound like much of a catch. And any woman with a head on her shoulders would resent having been misled.
I don't know where you're finding the women you've been seeing, but I recommend you fish in other dating pools. In a support group you might meet someone with whom you have much in common.