DEAR ABBY: I recently met a 28-year-old father of three I'm interested in. He seems wonderful. He's a hard worker, takes care of his responsibilities, and is an amazing father to his children. They're all still very little, but they're great kids.
The only thing that has been on my mind lately is that he has a lot of baggage. Those kids are from three different women. He gets along with all of them very well, to the point that they sometimes do stuff together with the children. They go out to places, or sometimes he invites them over to his place to swim in the pool.
I understand that he has to maintain a healthy relationship with his exes for the sake of the children, but I never thought it would be this "healthy." I have never experienced something like this. I appreciate his being up front about everything, but I can't stop thinking about it. Am I overreacting?
- Three's Company
DEAR THREE'S COMPANY: I don't think so. While I admire the man's devotion to his children - not to mention his skilled diplomatic ability - it does appear that he has a problem making a lasting commitment to a woman. Unless you would seriously consider joining this "harem," I urge you to religiously practice contraception. If you would like children in the future, it would be better to approach it with someone who isn't as marriage-phobic as this young man appears to be.
Newlyweds touchy about their titles
DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a wedding after which the bride chose not to adopt her husband's last name. After the wedding, we met them for dinner. When they strolled up to the restaurant to meet us, I happily exclaimed, "Oh, here come Mr. and Mrs. Smith!" after which I was quickly informed that I was wrong because the bride was keeping her maiden name.
Abby, even if a woman goes by her maiden name, is it so wrong to refer to her as "the Mrs."?
- Stepped in It
DEAR STEPPED: Your mistake was an innocent one. Now that you know this couple are sensitive about their individual identities, address them by their names ("Linda" and "Robert") if you wish to maintain a social relationship.
back then and today
DEAR ABBY: You and your mother have answered many sexual questions in your column over the years. Editors back in the '50s were more prudish about what could be published in family papers. Did your mother have to battle with dragons to print sexual questions from her readers?
- Sonny in Alabama
DEAR SONNY: If she did, she didn't mention it to me. While I agree that editors back then - and even now - tend to be conservative, if they disapprove of a letter, they are free not to print it.