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.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or at PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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