I’m a 40-year-old woman, and my dad still wants to control my life. I was married for 10 years and have been divorced for the past 7. Recently I met a guy I like very much, and he likes me too, but we have decided to be just friends for the moment. My father lives with me and won’t let me have a serious relationship with anybody. He believes a divorced woman should not have a relationship unless she’s getting married. I don’t know if my relationship will lead to marriage, but meanwhile I’d like some companionship. How can I tell my father I’m old enough to make my own decisions without hurting him?
—Feeling Like a Little Girl at 40 in Phoenix
You and your father need to grow up and move into the 21st century. Quickly, because the clock is ticking. So grab el toro by the horns and just tell him you are seeing someone whom you may or may not marry but who makes you happy, and he, being the good father he is, should be happy for you. In case of objection, whip out your birth certificate and point to your date of birth. End of discussion. In addition, if there are other siblings or relatives in the picture, try to arrange for your father to spend some weekends with them so you can have some time and space for yourself.
—Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, D
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