Firm limits needed to curb compulsion
DEAR ABBY: I am upset with myself for getting my granddaughter the cellphone she begged me for. I wish the phone companies would put restrictions on them. I wondered why she was feeling tired in the mornings until I caught her on the phone at 4 a.m. She can't get dressed in the morning because she's texting every two minutes.
When her friend, who she was always very active with, came over, the girl wound up watching a movie with me because my granddaughter would not stop texting in her bedroom. She wasn't like this until she got this new boyfriend, and he must have no life at all. Should I talk to his parents? It is consuming her life, morning, noon and night. I have told her she can't have the phone until her homework is done. – FRUSTRATED GRANDMA IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR GRANDMA: You shouldn't expect the phone company to decide what is acceptable in your home. As the adult in your household, it's up to you to assert control. If your granddaughter lives with you, by all means talk to the boyfriend's parents about this.
But equally important, enforce cellphone limits. If you think she can't be trusted not to use it after lights-out, see that she gives you her phone at bedtime. In the morning, return it to her once she's dressed and ready for school. And when she invites friends over, make sure she understands it is HER responsibility – not yours – to entertain them, because what she did was rude.
DEAR ABBY: I have met a darling man I'm compatible with in every way. We have similar tastes in just about everything from decorating and landscaping to entertainment.
My problem is his past. From what he says, he has never had a monogamous relationship, even during his marriage. After the divorce he pursued anything female.
When we are out at a club or a concert, I constantly encounter women he has been with. He tells me he is happy for the first time in his life and he would never cheat on me.
I have never been the jealous type, and I'm really not now. I just don't want to be the woman everyone is laughing at because they know his history. As I said, we are content and happy, but I need to move past this or move on, I guess. – THE CURRENT WOMAN
DEAR CURRENT WOMAN: You say this "darling" man has never had a monogamous relationship – before, during or after his marriage. Therefore, the odds aren't great that he'll have one with you.
It's time to ask yourself (not me) if you would be willing to tolerate his fooling around if you were his wife. Some women – the wives of attractive or powerful men – are open-minded about it if their husbands are discreet. The real question is, are you?
DEAR ABBY: I wrote to you three years ago about throwing parties on unique days, such as 7-7-07, 9-9-09, etc., and you printed my letter.
Well, I'm still at it, even though the special numbers have run out. I planned a brunch on 11-11-11. Everyone who attended chipped in $11 apiece. The money that was left over I donated to a hunger program. Twelve of us met for lunch at noon on 12-12-12, and this time each person paid – guess how much – $12.
This year, we'll be having brunch at 10:00 on 11-12-13, and I'm already planning ahead for next year's celebration, which will be on 12-13-14 at 1500 hours. Any suggestions? – CLAIRE (AGAIN) IN BETHLEHEM, PA.
DEAR CLAIRE: You appear to be a fun, clever woman with a zest for life. And yes, I do have a suggestion. How about making next year's celebration a tea with a holiday theme? After all, "'tis the season," and any leftover money could be donated to a children's charity.
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.