ADVERTISEMENT

Dear Abby: My daughter’s third birthday is coming soon, and since the new thing is sending out website-generated invitations, I have noticed that it is becoming common to include the child’s interests, clothes/shoe size, etc. in the invitation.

I’m uncomfortable about including this information because I feel a child should be grateful for anything he or she receives as a gift. Am I too old-fashioned or is this tacky? If it is acceptable these days, what’s a good way to provide a child’s wish list without sounding expectant of anything?

– Young Mom In San Mateo, California

Dear Young Mom: I appreciate that you want to teach your child good manners and good values. How else are children to learn if their parents don’t take the time to explain what they are?

I understand some parents try to save time by including the information you have described along with their party invitations, but frankly, it IS tacky. The parents of prospective guests should reply to the invitation by ASKING what gifts the child would enjoy or can use. If the invitation was issued online, the question can be asked via texting or email. However, a phone call is more personal and, frankly, more refined.

Looking for dating advice

Dear Abby: I am a 38-year-old male who has never been married. I have been in three serious relationships, all of them with women who have children. Each time when these relationships ended, I found myself heartbroken. I experienced a kind of withdrawal because of the emotional bond I had with the children.

I have now decided to date only women who have no children. But my friends and co-workers say I’m being shortsighted and “closing the door to several opportunities.” Because of our disagreements, I find myself spending more and more time away from them, and more time alone.

Are my friends right? Or should I stick to my guns and keep looking for that special someone who does not come with a family attached?

– Montana Lonely

Dear Montana Lonely: If you prefer to start dating women who don’t have children, that is your privilege. Your friends may think you will be missing out on a good thing, but it’s really none of their business.

While I agree that by going in this direction you may miss out on a lovely lady who also happens to be a mother, because your sadness after your breakups had more to do with missing the children than the woman you were seeing, a change of pace might be healthy for you.

P.S. If you think these breakups were painful for you, imagine what it was like for the children to have a potential father to whom they had grown close disappear from their lives. This is why many mothers keep their dating lives completely separate until they are sure the relationship will be permanent.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.