DEAR ABBY: When I was in my first year of college, my mother divorced my stepdad. "Charlie" was part of my life for 12 years, but since their divorce, she insists I have no contact with him. Charlie visits the state where I now live several times a year to see a friend and invites me to have dinner with him. I do, but because of Mom's demand, I ask him to keep our time together a secret. If she knew we were in contact, I think she would cut me out of her life.
Growing up, Charlie was a father figure to me -- a very important person in my life. Spending time with him is awkward, but it would feel wrong to never see him again. We were family for many years. I feel that as an adult, I should be able to decide for myself who I stay in contact with. I don't know the whole story about their breakup, and honestly, I don't care to know. Should I honor my mother's wishes and have no more contact with him, or go with my gut and keep him in my life? -- FORGIVE OR FORGET OUT WEST
DEAR FORGIVE: Go with your gut. As an adult, you do have the right to choose with whom you associate, and your mother should not be insisting upon it with no explanation.