Let daughter maker her own decisions

My 24-year-old daughter, “Dawn,” still lives at home. The problem is my husband, her stepfather. “Jim” likes to control everything Dawn does.

Dear Annie: My 24-year-old daughter, “Dawn,” still lives at home.

The problem is my husband, her stepfather. “Jim” likes to control everything Dawn does. She’s in the process of looking for an apartment, and Jim wants to decide where she lives and what she does once she moves out. He doesn’t trust anything she does or says because she has lied to us in the past.

Jim has two children from his first marriage, and he didn’t do this with them. They don’t have anything to do with him now, so I think he’s overcompensating. This controlling behaviour has been going on for quite some time, and the fighting is endless. I know once Dawn gets her own place things will improve. But until then, it’s a battlefield.

I believe we should let our children learn from their mistakes. Jim thinks we need to prevent Dawn from making any. What should I do? — Miserable Mom

Dear Mom: Tell Jim to back off. Dawn needs to get out of the house and live independently, and the sooner you can help her do that the better. Whatever mistakes she makes are learning experiences. Jim may have been uninvolved in the older children’s lives, but he is overinvolved in Dawn’s. He has to stop.

Dear Annie: I’ve been a widow for seven years. My husband was a wonderful man. Our kids are grown now and I’m alone.

I have a Ph.D. and a good job. I have lots of friends, and we socialize together and go out dancing. I’m healthy and attractive, fun to be with, have a good figure, enjoy sex, am active in professional and civic organizations, own a lovely home and am financially well off. I’m even a licensed pilot.

My problem? The men I meet do not want to be in a relationship. They just want to have sex. Some are married and pretending to be single. The single men my age are looking for women 20 years younger.

Yet most men, even the younger ones, don’t have the energy to keep up with me. It is discouraging how badly these men behave, and I’m wondering whether it is unique to my area, an older man thing, or what. — Disheartened in Louisiana

Dear Louisiana: It is not unique to any area, and yes, many older men first look for younger women. Still, there are men in your age bracket who are searching for a committed relationship. Make sure you are looking in the right places, and don’t dismiss reliable Internet dating sites.

It also sounds like you may be a little overwhelming for some men, so you might want to tone it down a notch and let them get to know you without thinking they must impress you first.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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