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Daughter’s guy is a holiday surprise

Dear Amy: My daughter is coming to our house for the holidays, bringing her three small children. The dinner is at my mom and dad’s house.

She asked to bring her “boyfriend.” They knew each other many years ago and have recently reconnected but have had only e-mail and phone contact.

I said it was fine for her to bring him to dinner, and her grandmother agreed.

Now we find out that she wants him to stay with her as a guest at her grandmother’s house for the entire time they’re here.

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I was very upset when my mother told me this.

I phoned my daughter and told her, “No way. We don’t know this man, and to us he’s a stranger.”

I can’t get through to her that just talking with a guy on the phone or Internet doesn’t let you really get to know him.

I am worried. Am I old-fashioned, or do we have a right to be upset?

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Holiday Helpless

Dear Helpless: Your concern is completely understandable. It’s a shame your daughter doesn’t share it.

Everyone’s focus should be pointed toward the three kids. Their mom has every right to have a romantic relationship, but it is unwise for her to conduct this relationship while involving your parents and her children.

It is also foolish to launch into a new relationship over the holidays, which is a high-stress time for everyone.

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If the guy in question wants to travel to see your daughter, he should stay at someone else’s house or at a hotel.

You or your parents might want to offer to watch the kids in the evenings so your daughter can renew her friendship with him with a measure of privacy.

::

Dear Amy: One Christmas my uncle John gave his wife a flannel nightgown. His intent was to give her something that would keep her warm.

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She was very offended by this gift. She took it as an insult that he would want to see her in something as unfeminine as a flannel nightgown.

Afterward, he looked at me and said, “Never buy a woman anything practical for a gift.”

To this day, I have heeded his advice.

Mike in Denver

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Dear Mike: Reading hundreds of “worst gift” stories has convinced me that women are both easy and very hard to please. Go figure.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson by e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.


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