Dear Abby: I love my youngest daughter very much. She is the only one of my four daughters who has never married. For several months she has been living with a man who is a divorcee and father of two sons.
He is a caring father. The problem is his status as a felon, for possession of drugs and running from the police. He served his time – about a year – and received accolades during that time. His sisters refuse to come to my house if he is present and won’t invite him on holidays.
My birthday is coming up, and I want her here with my sisters, but she won’t come without her. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. How long will it take for his sisters and their husbands to accept him? – Accepting in New Jersey
Dear Accept: If your daughter’s boyfriend leads a clean lifestyle, is employed and is trying to turn his life around, your other daughters and their husbands should give him a chance to prove himself. Their refusal is hurtful as it prevents you from enjoying the holidays with your entire family. However, I cannot change what is happening and neither can you, so celebrate separately with this couple.
Dear Abby: When I was 15, I had the privilege of going mountain climbing with people familiar with the area. We stopped at a princely state to greet a man who had been living there in seclusion for 25 years. That’s when I thought for the first time, “I want to become a monk some day.” Twenty-five years ago, I bought a few acres of land. I spent several years clearing by hand and putting in infrastructure, but eventually my husband and I built a small house and studio. We love being in this private space.
My question has to do with the general belief that people need people. After 50 years of being a community activist, a shopkeeper in a service business, and an event organizer, I am now happily retired. I love my privacy. I don’t need to go anywhere or see almost anyone (except family). I’ll help when asked, rise to the occasion, cheer, but – is it okay to love being a hermit?
My vast network of friends seems to approve of this. Occasionally, rarely, someone stops by and I make coffee. As long as I live, I can live like this. I finally have my dream. But is it too weird? – Hermit in Washington
Dear monk: It’s unusual, but I don’t think it’s “weird”. One person’s dream may be another person’s nightmare; The reverse is also true. Enjoy living your dream and don’t apologize or feel guilty for it.
Dear Abby: I am in an awkward position and need a diplomatic way of handling it. I have a business, and a client is constantly asking to socialize. I always make excuses, to no avail. He just keeps offering new dates and options. How do I tell them that their invitations are not welcome without jeopardizing our business relationship? – Need help in California
Dear Help: Tell this guy you’re happy he wants you out, however, you have one hard and fast rule, and that rule is to never date a client. period.
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