I am a stay-at-home mother with three young children. I have become friends with another stay-at-home parent. We share many things in common, and our children are great playmates.
The problem is, my friend is a man.
Even though both of us are happily married, sometimes we feel awkward spending time together.
Our spouses are not thrilled about us hanging out together, but they haven't forbidden it because they trust us to be faithful.
Is it appropriate for a man and a woman to spend time together while their spouses are at work?
- At Home with Another Woman's
DEAR AT HOME: It depends upon the individuals involved and whether there is a physical attraction.
In your case, because you "sometimes feel awkward spending time together," I suggest you limit it - because what you're feeling may be sexual tension.
Has it occurred to you to include other stay-at-home parents in these visits?
That might be a way to diffuse the situation without ending the friendship.
DEAR ABBY: I have a courtesy question regarding personal (not business) e-mails.
Should a person's e-mail be "private" and accessible to others only after they are asked and have given permission?
Or are e-mail messages "open season," in that anyone with access to someone's PC and password can open the e-mail and browse at will?
I recently discovered my wife reading my e-mail, and I was upset that she had opened it without asking my permission.
Her response was, "Well, I've got nothing to hide," but that misses the point of privacy and courtesy between married partners.
Shouldn't courtesy require someone - even a trusted spouse - to ask before opening someone else's e-mail?
- Feels Invaded,
St. Peters, Mo.
DEAR FEELS INVADED: If you and your wife share a joint e-mail account, and the e-mail is addressed to both of you, then your wife is within her rights to read it. If not, she should respect your privacy. And vice versa.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are having a minor disagreement, and I hope you'll respond to this letter in the paper so he sees it. (We're both frequent readers of your column.)
We're arguing over what would be an appropriate curfew for our 18-year-old son.
My husband believes 2 a.m. is appropriate for weekends, as long as we know where he is and what he'll be doing. I believe it should be 1 a.m.
Our son is a good person. He dabbled with alcohol when he was a bit younger, but he hasn't done it since and is doing well in life. He also has good friends.
Of course, he thinks the 2 a.m. curfew is better. Like father, like son, huh? Abby, which time do you believe is more appropriate as a curfew for our son?
- Curfew Patrol Mom
DEAR CURFEW PATROL MOM: At 18, your son has become a young man. There is very little difference between a 1 or 2 o'clock curfew on a weekend night. Why not split the difference and make it 1:30?