DEAR ABBY: I'm 31 and the mother of three awesome children. At 29, I left my husband of nine years and came out of the closet. I have been in a stable two-year relationship with my girlfriend, and she recently moved in with us.
My oldest child has started asking if his friends can come and stay the night on a weekend. I let one child spend the night with him once. My sister asked me if I had told the child's parent that I'm a lesbian living with a partner. When I said no, she got upset and said that because we live in a small, religious country town I should inform the child's parent of my living situation.
I don't feel it's my responsibility to offer this personal information. We're hardworking, law-abiding citizens, and I am a loving and protective mother. We aren't felons who need to "disclose" our personal "crimes." What do you think? - Proud Mama in the South
DEAR PROUD MAMA: You are not under any obligation to announce your sexual orientation to anyone. In a small town - religious or not - word gets around quickly on its own. Trust me on that. However, if you are asked directly, you should be honest.
DEAR ABBY: Our daughter was married recently. During the wedding or the reception, someone stole money from the purses of at least two of the bridesmaids.
Are the bride's parents responsible for the loss?
- Mother of the Bride in Alabama
DEAR MOTHER OF THE BRIDE: What happened was unfortunate, and I hope the lesson that the bridesmaids learned from this wasn't an expensive one. Unless you agreed to look after the young women's belongings, you are not responsible for the loss. They should have left their purses with someone they trusted or secured in a locked room or car.
As a gesture of good will, depending upon the state of your finances, you might want to make good on their loss. But you are not required to do so.