Dear Abby: I am a 47-year-old woman with a 12-year-old son. I met a wonderful man I’ll call “Daryl,” and we have been dating for about three years. We recently became engaged and are planning to be married this spring.
I have had one concern for a while, and I probably should have already addressed it with him. Daryl is very good about including my son, “Kevin,” in almost all of our outings, but he never asks Kevin to do any “guy” things with him. Daryl has grown sons, so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to do the guy thing. Kevin has never had a father in his life, so he longs for this kind of companionship.
I’m afraid if I bring it up, Daryl may feel compelled to start doing it, but I don’t want him to do it only because I said something. I was hoping it was something my fiance might have wanted to do earlier on in the relationship. Should I say something or let it take its course?
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Bring it up! Daryl isn’t clairvoyant, and he may not realize how much your son longs for a role model. Explain it to him and see how he responds. Your fiance may not have been a hands-on dad with his own sons.
The teen years are an important time, and Daryl still has time to lay the groundwork for a mentoring relationship if he starts showing an interest now. If he waits too long, Kevin may conclude that Daryl doesn’t really care about him and thinks he doesn’t measure up in some way, which could affect his self-esteem for years to come.
Dear Abby: I am 40, married and busy. I work a full-time job and go to school part-time. My schedule is filled with just my normal activities. I have a busy social life and many family members, so every weekend my husband and I are invited to something.
I enjoy these gatherings, but sometimes I just want a weekend to myself to do what I want to do — go to the beach, a park, take care of something that needs to be done around the house, or just sit and watch TV or go to a movie.
I find it hard to say no to the invitations. How can I politely decline some of them without offending or hurting friends or family members?
So you’re a people pleaser. It is not rude or hurtful to refuse invitations by saying, “Thank you for wanting us, but we already have a commitment for that day.” It’s also not rude to tell the person your schedule has been so full that you have been buzzing around like a bee in a fit and need to just plain rest and catch up on chores. That’s what I recommend you start doing without feeling guilty about it, because everyone needs a certain amount of downtime so they don’t make themselves sick.
Dear Abby: I was talking to my daughter about what I would want for a birthday present since I have plenty of “stuff” and I am trying to get rid of it. Could I suggest that instead of giving me something, she come and take something — or even two somethings? What do you think?
I think it’s a novel idea for someone who is downsizing, and if you and your daughter have similar taste, she would appreciate it. Start by saying, “It’s better to give than to receive…”
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.