Dear Abby: I am part of a small social ladies group. The eight of us range in age from mid-50s to late-60s. We get together once a month for lunch, a movie, dinner, shopping, etc. I look forward to it, and we always have a good time.
Recently, we lost a few members due to relocating, and the subject came up about trying to get a few more women interested in joining us. When I mentioned it to my daughter, who is in her early 30s, she got very excited and wants to join. When I approached the group about it, they were dead set against it, which surprised me. They feel it would change the atmosphere of the group because of the age difference.
I haven't told my daughter yet because I know her feelings will be hurt. Now I'm torn about whether to continue with this group of ladies, since I'm upset that my daughter will be excluded for a reason I consider to be trivial. Some of the ladies have never even met her. There have never been any "rules" discussed about who wouldn't be accepted.
I don't know how to proceed with this. Our next get-together is coming up soon, and I'm stressed as to how to handle it. Help! — Social Lady in California
Dear Social Lady: The way to handle it is to explain to your daughter that the other members of the group prefer socializing with women their own age, which is why she won't be invited to join them. Explain that it isn't personal, that they might not feel comfortable discussing issues in front of her that she has yet to face.
Because your daughter has time on her hands, encourage her to consider volunteering or joining a social group of contemporaries, and if you still feel as upset as you do about this group, ask if she'd mind if you joined her.
Dear Abby: "Russ," my partner of 33 years, passed away nine months ago. Needless to say, it has been a tough time for me. I had a close relationship with his sister, who lives down the street. She and her husband were very supportive after Russ' death.
Russ' sister knows me only within the context of being her brother's husband. Now that he's gone, and I'm back to being a single gay man, how do I set boundaries without offending her? She's always asking where I'm going, what I'm doing, what I have been doing and who I'm going with. It's making me very uncomfortable because I don't think it's any of her business.
I refrain from discussing my private life with her, but she doesn't seem to be getting the message. I don't want to offend her since she's been so good to me, but at the same time, I need my privacy. — Single Again
Dear Single: Could you be feeling guilty for deciding to start a new phase in your life? (You shouldn't, because it's normal and natural.) Russ' sister isn't some stranger who is trying to pry. She probably regards you as her surrogate brother. These are questions she would ask Russ if he had lived and you had passed away.
Please try to be less sensitive when she shows an interest. However, if that's not possible, you will have to level with her about how her questions make you feel.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.