DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a 20-year-old college student, and my mom recently got engaged to her boyfriend of two years. She’s been a single mom for pretty much my entire life, and I'm nervous about her taking this next step. Her boyfriend seems cool, but I really don't know him all that well since they started dating while I was away at school. I want her to be happy; however, I'm also insecure about losing our closeness. My mom and I are best friends. It's been just the two of us for so long. How can I be more accepting of this change? -- Mom and Me
DEAR MOM AND ME: Your mother’s relationship is only one of two significant changes that you are facing right now, even if you don’t realize it. You are becoming an adult, and you need to step fully into that, which means that you need to be able to be independent of your mother, even as you stay close to her. Interestingly, the fact that she is soon to be married may be a good thing for both of you. Why? Because both of you need to discover how to be independent of each other. Chances are, your mother went through something like this when you went away to college. Becoming an empty nester can be devastating to some parents, especially when they are very close to their children.
Instead of worrying, make a decision to welcome this man into the family, to be happy for your mother and to remain close to her. Talk to your mother about your feelings. Perhaps she will share some of hers, as well. Yes, your relationship will change, but that was going to happen anyway. Welcome the changes, and choose to enjoy the journey.