DEAR ABBY: I am a 75-year-old man who lives in a gated community. For the last eight months I have been seeing a woman who lives nearby. We are starting to fall in love.
Our problem is her 95-year-old mother, who lives with her. Her mom is pretty healthy and has some money, but she's scared to be left alone. Because of this, my lady and I have difficulty finding private time.
We get out for short periods, but we'd like to go away for a weekend together. If we suggest it, Mom makes a stink and gets nasty with her daughter. We have tried talking with her about it, but she refuses, sulks and won't talk for days.
She's suffering from slight dementia, but gets around OK with a walker. Mom claims she doesn't want or need a "grandma sitter." She wants only her daughter to take care of her and be with her. Any help would be appreciated. -- COURTING TROUBLE IN ARIZONA
DEAR COURTING: If your lady friend wants to have any life of her own, she will have to stiffen her spine and deal with Mama. This includes not allowing her mother's sulking to prevent the two of you from having an occasional weekend together.
She should contact assisted-living facilities in the area and find out if they will accept guests for short stays of only a few days or a week. If the answer is yes, Mama should be offered a choice: Either someone comes to stay with her while you're gone, a friend perhaps, or she will have to stay elsewhere because being alone is not an option.