DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for more than a year and recently started dating a very nice man, "John." My eldest daughter and her children live with me. I'd like to be able to invite John over to our house, but my daughter doesn't want "strange men" around her kids, which I understand. I tried suggesting that she meet John before assuming that he is a strange man, but she's hesitant about meeting him.
Abby, I'd like to be able to spend some nights at home with him instead of always going out. It hurts because I have allowed the father of her children to live with us, yet I can't have someone I care about visit me at the home I work hard to pay for.
Please, Abby. I need advice on how to make my relationship with him and her work.
- Stressed in the Midwest
DEAR STRESSED: I wish I had more information about your daughter and her attitude. Did she disapprove of your divorce from her father and harbor hopes that you will reconcile? Could she be worried that if you and John become serious, she will have to find another place to live? That she'd refuse to even meet him seems peculiar.
It was generous of you to allow her children's father to live under your roof. (Has he left yet?) Notice that I said "under your roof." If you want to entertain a guest, as the person who pays the mortgage, that should be your privilege. If that makes her uncomfortable, perhaps it would be better if she took the children to their father's or another relative's place for the evening.
You are entitled to live your life without your daughter controlling you, but it appears that may be exactly what she's trying to do.