DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a 21-year-daughter who is in culinary school. She is doing well, and she is looking forward to becoming a chef at a five-star restaurant.
I'm a 40-year-old single mother. I currently stay with my parents to save money while my daughter is in culinary school. She is expected to graduate in 2013, and I'm excited that she is nearly finished with school. I'm really looking forward to dating again, with the goal of being married.
I received an email from my daughter last week saying that she would like to stay in culinary school for an additional year. I support my daughter 100 percent, but I really want to start my life. What should I do? -- On Hold, Salt Lake City
DEAR ON HOLD: Talk to your daughter about tuition options. Perhaps she can get a scholarship or loan to complete school, without it being such a burden on you. Especially if she is a good student, there may be financial aid options that can ease your burden.
As far as your personal life goes, you don't have to put it on hold until your daughter completes school. If you want to date, go for it. I'm sure it's awkward living with your parents as an adult. But I bet you can negotiate "house rules" that give you more flexibility than you may currently have. You may not feel comfortable having "sleepovers," but if you are looking to get married, it's probably best to take it slow anyway.
The point here is that your life need not be on hold while your daughter's life is unfolding. Both of you can live and prosper.
By the way, if your daughter has to struggle a little to complete her studies, that may be a good thing. Oftentimes a bit of struggle helps people value what they have even more.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a male friend of whom I have grown quite fond over the last three years. We have been inseparable, spending all of our free time together. Our mutual friends thought we were on the road to marriage.
To the surprise of many, he recently decided to see another woman. I'm happy for him -- honestly, I am. I learned a lot from spending time with him, though I thought we would be an item. I'm 27, and I met him when I was 24. I do not feel like I have wasted three years of my life. I'm a little heartbroken, but I will bounce back.
We are members of the same church, and I would like to know what I should say when I see him. -- It Wasn't Meant To Be, Syracuse, N.Y.
DEAR IT WASN'T MEANT TO BE: I'm sorry this friend didn't choose you as his partner. It will hurt for a while, but the best you can do is to be gracious.
When you see him, say "hello" and keep moving. Don't linger. Realign yourself with other friends, but resist commiserating with them about him.