DEAR ABBY: I'm a single mom in my 40s and my daughter is 12. After my last relationship, 10 years ago (not with her father), I took a leave of absence from the dating world to concentrate on myself and being the best mother I could.
Fast-forward: When I attempt to talk to anyone of the opposite sex, my daughter has a fit. She has hidden my car keys and my phone, pouts if I go out and behaves like an all-out brat.
I have reassured her that I love her and always will. Also, I would never allow someone around her if I had any suspicion that he might not be good for her. Nothing works. I have spoken with only one person I would even think of introducing her to, but I am afraid of her attitude.
Abby, what's the best way to enter into the dating world without hurting my child? I want to date, but my child won't let me. -- ENTERING THE DATING WORLD AGAIN
DEAR ENTERING: Your daughter likes things just the way they are and views any disruption as a threat to her lifestyle. The best way to enter into the dating world would be to do it without consulting her. IF and when you meet someone and things become serious, introduce them then -- in a casual way. If she acts up, remember that YOU are the parent.
Your daughter doesn't have to "love" someone because you do. She does, however, have to treat that person with the same respect with which you treat her friends -- and you should insist upon it. You are the parent, and it's up to you to enforce the rules for as long as she lives with you.