DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old man with a criminal record. I got involved in some fraud and embezzlement rings when I was in my early 20s, and served nine months before being released on parole.
Since then I have moved in with my mother, found a job, and I have reached the point where I'd like to begin dating again.
The problem is, I don't know when the time is right to bring up my past. If I wait too long, my name is mud for not saying anything sooner. I want to do the right thing so I can stay on the right path. Can you help me?
- A Better Man in New York
DEAR BETTER MAN: I agree that the chapter of your life in which you were in prison is not something you should reveal on a first date. But do raise the subject around the fourth date, because by then the woman will have had a chance to get to know you.
If she likes you, she'll hear you out and understand that you don't plan to repeat your past mistakes.
DEAR ABBY: I am blessed with two beautiful daughters. One is 13; the other is 4 months old. For 11 years my 13-year-old, "Lily," was my life. I had dated, but they were all Mr. Wrongs.
Two years ago, I finally met a wonderful man, "Kevin." He is good to me, and he and Lily get along to a point, but he's shy and doesn't talk much. Kevin moved in with us a few months after I found out I was pregnant.
I try to include Lily in our new family, but she feels left out. She stays in her room and doesn't have much to do with Kevin.
What can I do to assure Lily that I love her as much as I always have? I hope to eventually marry Kevin. Lily's dad isn't very involved in her life. Help, please.
- West Virginia Mom