Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Student Feels Ready To Settle Down Now

DEAR HARRIETTE: How do I set boundaries with my dad who wants to reconnect with me? I am 20 years old, and my mom and dad divorced when I was 2. I was raised by my mom, who told me he was really abusive to her. My mother has been controlling and abusive throughout my life, so I don’t know whether or not to trust my dad because I’ve only heard my mom’s perspective. How do I figure out how much to trust him, and whether I should work to reintroduce him into my life in a healthy way? -- Rediscovering Dad

DEAR REDISCOVERING DAD: Take some time to talk to your dad so you can figure out if his intentions are genuine and whether he’s reformed since your parents' divorce. Eighteen years is a lot of time for someone to grow, so cautiously give him a chance, but set boundaries on the amount of time you talk so that it doesn’t end up taking up too much of your life. In this way, you have a set amount of time and space in which you can get to know him and learn whether or not you see the relationship as something you would like to continue.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)