DEAR AMY: I have recently been spending more time with a new co-worker. The more I get to know her, the more interested I become. We are both unattached and have made your column our morning routine when we work together.
We both have had previous bad experiences in relationships. Now I’m having a hard time not asking her out for a date.
She wants to be single, and I can understand her feelings about putting her career first. I think she knows I want more, yet I’m reluctant to make any move that would ruin the friendship we have begun.
I’m usually good at giving advice on these matters, but I could really use an outsider’s opinion. I just don’t know what to do. -- Interested Friend
DEAR INTERESTED: Thank you for making my column part of your workday routine. Judging from the mail I receive from worker bees, this column serves as conversation fodder in many cubicle farms.
Your co-worker seems to be telegraphing that she will not be receptive to a romance with you.
All the same, I know the irrepressible impulse of wanting to ask someone out. I say: Relieve the pressure by bringing this up, but anticipate being kindly refused.
Here’s how you can do it: “Amy seems to think I should ask you to do something outside of work. I’m not sure. What do you think?”
DEAR AMY: I am a stepmother of two beautiful, amazing children, ages 9 and 7. I have been a part of their lives for many years and I count myself as one of their four parents (my husband and me; their mother and her husband).
The problem is the rest of society. Since my husband and I married several years ago, the question from his family, my family, friends, co-workers, etc., is when we are going to have our own children. We always say that we already have two children and every time, the other person always says, “Yeah, but it’s different with your own.”
To any stepparent who is loving and involved, this is incredibly hurtful and ignorant. This sort of statement would not be made toward an adoptive or foster parent, so why should a stepparent count as anything less? -- A (Step)mom
DEAR (STEP)MOM: I understand your frustration and appreciate your advocacy for stepparents.
I have one quibble, however. You say that people would never question that adoptive or foster children are “real” children, but people do question this, all the time.
Stepparents are “real” parents; adopted children are “real” family members, and other than for points of clarity, I don’t see any reason to distinguish between people in families related by DNA or by choice.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from “Unplugged Mom,” who was worried about her husband and father playing M-rated video games around the kids.
My husband and I are gamers. We have always had a rule that the kids may not watch or play M-rated games. We felt that if we let them break this rule, it sets a precedent to break others, such as going to R-rated movies and drinking before age 21.
We limit playing these games until after they are asleep, or by closing the door to the room.
The children’s computer is in another part of the house in a high-traffic zone to help keep them away from sites they should avoid.
Since breaking the rules means loss of computer privileges, they are motivated to behave. They are now teenagers and have been using the computer since age 3.
The children have complained that we are keeping them out of the social loop, but we have stuck to our guns and they have always found alternate games to play. We have even found several games out there that the whole family finds enjoyable to play. -- Gamer Mom
DEAR GAMER: You have the fortitude to say “no” to something — and to stick with it. Good for you!
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