My boyfriend, "Ron," and I have been together for six years and have lived together for two. We are planning to be married.
I work close to home and sometimes Ron meets me for lunch nearby. When he drops me off, he insists on kissing me in the car in front of the building, a long, lingering tongue kiss. I think it is inappropriate, because my bosses and co-workers have windows right there, and there are often clients outside.
When I try to pull away, or explain why it makes me uncomfortable, Ron gets upset and says I must be ashamed of him or something. That's not true! I would simply rather keep such displays of affection confined to our house, or at least away from my workplace. Am I wrong?
Embarrassed in Boston
You are right to be embarrassed. What your boyfriend is doing isn't showing affection; it is displaying the extent of his insecurity. By kissing you in such an inappropriate way, he is trying to show others the control he has over you. To insist on doing it after you have told him it makes you uncomfortable is insensitive, immature and disrespectful of your feelings. Please consider putting marriage on "hold" until your boyfriend grows up, which may be never.
I am divorced and the father of two girls, ages 6 and 5. I am actively involved in their lives. My ex-wife, "Erin," is a teacher, so I pick the kids up from school and watch them until dinner every night.
Erin and I separated in 2001. She started dating the following July, and by August, my 6-year-old told me that Mom's "friend from high school" was sleeping in her bed and taking showers in the morning.
I was furious. I told Erin that what she did when I had the kids was her business. But when the kids were with her, her boyfriend should not spend the night. She told me her bedroom was no longer any of my business. The sleepovers continued, and in November, Erin informed me that her boyfriend had officially moved in. She claims that this is a loving and committed relationship -- but they have broken up twice that I know of in the past six months.
I am legally powerless to fight this, but I think that in addition to being confusing and unsettling for our daughters, Erin is setting a bad example.
What is your opinion, Abby? Do you feel (as Erin maintains steadfastly) that she is doing "nothing wrong"?
Legally Powerless in New York
No, I do not. Your ex-wife is setting a bad example and sending a poor message to her impressionable daughters. When the girls are older, Erin may come to regret her stance on this. Although you are legally powerless in this situation, I hope that you will continue to be a stabilizing influence in your daughters' lives, because it appears they are going to need one.
I am married, with a 12-year-old daughter. We share a three-bedroom apartment with a lady who is a friend of the family. She is always doing dishes, even though I have repeatedly requested that she not do so.
When she does the dishes, more than half of them are still dirty. What should I do about this? Continue to rewash them? It seems like a waste of effort and water.
Frustrated in Washington
Try this: Assign another chore to this well-intentioned but vision-challenged lady. That way she will feel like she's doing something useful -- and you won't have to worry about sanitation.
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, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate