Dear Amy: Do I have a say if I don't want my boyfriend's two children to live with us?
I am childless at the moment (going to college), and do not want this to affect my budget.
I am supportive, and he has joint custody. I just cannot commit to being a full-time mom to other children when I don't even have my own.
I know what I signed up for, but I've seen great fathers that don't live with their children (like my dad).
-- Wondering Woman
Dear Wondering: No, you don't have a say. What I mean is that you simply don't have the right to ask a committed parent to give up shared custody of his children for you. And if you think the main impact of having these children in your life will be on your budget, then you are simply not equipped to take this on.
If these children lived with the two of you half the time, then you wouldn't be a full-time mother. He would be the primary parent; you would be the back-stop parent when they were with you.
Most importantly -- and really the only thing that matters -- is that you obviously do not want to do this. It is completely valid at your stage in life to make a choice not to have children. This is the essence of a person's right to choose.
You are correct that many wonderful parents do not have custody of their children. However, your guy's choice is to share custody of his children. He and his kids are a package deal, and you must either accept the package, or leave the relationship, because it isn't what you want.
Dear Amy: I've been communicating with an old friend, "Jonas," over Facebook.
About 10 months ago be asked me to a movie. We also attended another event together, which I planned and paid for. I thought we both had fun.
He continued to contact me with small talk, but didn't ask me out again. In the summer, he posted pictures of himself posed with another woman on Facebook.
I didn't initiate contact after that, but he would regularly contact me, asking how I was, or make some other small talk.
About a month ago, he asked if I wanted to date him, making some inference about not feeling good enough for me to consider him as more than a friend. He said it's been a long time since he has dated and that he is unsure of how to proceed. He is introverted, very nice, successful in business and quite a catch. Like me, his spouse has died.
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I invited him to dinner to talk about it. We managed to talk about everything but dating. Again, I thought we had a great time, but his communication since then has been more small talk with no follow-up plans to do anything together.
I haven't dated for a while, but don't remember it being so confusing. Is this how dating is in this day and age -- and what do I do about the small talk?
Dear Perplexed: Dating has always been confusing. It's not just you -- everyone feels this way -- in every era and at every age.
Because "Jonas" is an introvert, he might be taking things as far as he is able. Small talk might be his conversational wheelhouse, but he has managed to actually ask you if you want to be his steady gal. You followed through appropriately, but then you both chickened out when you were faced with the in-person awkwardness.
Posting a picture with another woman on Facebook means nothing. It quite literally means that he was standing next to someone when someone else took a picture.
He is waiting for you to take the lead. You seem capable of this, and so I hope you will seize this opportunity. You seem to communicate mainly via writing, so you should write him a short, plainly stated note: "I know we said we would talk about dating, but then I think we both chickened out. Do you want to talk about it? I find this aspect of the world very confusing these days, and I assume you do, too."
Dear Amy: "Confused Girl" is a nurse dating a cop, long distance. He only wants to see her once a month. She wants more.
Although I thought you gave decent advice, you missed the obvious: His preferences indicate that he is likely married.
-- Been There
Dear Been There: A definite possibility.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)