Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I am a 31-year-old single, educated woman. I ended a six-year relationship that became emotionally controlling and physically abusive. My ex and I have agreed to try to co-parent our 3-year-old son. My parents, who were pushed away due to the control issues, jumped in and rescued me and my son. They are co-investors on my new house and wholeheartedly participate in my son’s life. I have a new guy who surfaced at the time of my separation. He was going through a similar break-up. The new love has blossomed to a point where he is moving in. He is in is 50s, has three adult kids, two grandkids, and works as a laborer. My parents are livid. They feel that I am making a bad choice. Financially I make much more than he does. It is not an issue with me, because he will pay rent. My parents have met him and feel he is no match for their daughter. They are taking a strong stance against the new guy, perhaps selling my co-investment home and limiting future finances. They see him as a freeloader and want me to find someone in my league. I am in counseling and get support for “living my own life.” I would like your opinion, if you think I am making a mistake with the new guy for the disruption it may cause.

Torn

DEAR TORN: I align with your parents, but perhaps for different reasons.

I don’t know (or care, really) if this man is in your league.

What in this arrangement is good for your son? In his very short life, he has experienced emotional and physical abuse between his parents, and in short order his mother has invited a new man into the home.

No. Just no. There are many reasons for caution, but the reason that should matter the most to all of you was revealed in an eight-year study published in 2005 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which concluded: “Young children who reside in households with unrelated adults are at exceptionally high risk for inflicted-injury death. Most perpetrators are male, and most are residents of the decedent child’s household at the time of injury.” The study also noted that children residing with a single parent (and no unrelated adults in the household) are at no increased risk.

I’m not saying that this man is dangerous to you or your children. I am saying that you are not being prudent.

Engage in this relationship if you want to, but you are both rebounding, and this man should not be moving into your home until your life is more stable and you know him much better. He could be the greatest guy in the world, and if he is, he will respect your needs as a protective parent, and date you without moving in.

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DEAR AMY: One of my best friends is about to turn 30. Within the past few months, he has been depressed, and overall seems unhappy. Recently he emailed our close group of friends to share this information and to ask that we consider a weekend at the beach to help him celebrate his 30th. He said it would mean the world to him! He even offered to pay for us to fly there. I don’t make as much money as my friends. If I tell him this, he will offer to pay, but I don’t feel comfortable with him doing that. I am a grown adult and should pay for myself. I feel incredibly guilty, though, because I am getting married soon and he is in the wedding. He is spending time and money on me for all of my wedding-related activities and parties and I feel bad that I won’t/can’t offer support in return. Should I suck it up and pay for a short and expensive weekend, or tell him that it just won’t work?

Worried Friend

DEAR WORRIED: You should take him up on his offer. He is crying out for companionship and willing to help you get to him. Let him do this, be a great and supportive guest, and celebrate his birthday — and your friendship.

DEAR AMY: “Priority Parent” was wondering how to correct children on the playground. Your response was too wordy for kids! Children don’t need to be told what not to do (especially when they already know). Simply say, “The slide is for going down — not up.” “Wood chips belong on the ground.”

Simple Speaker

DEAR SPEAKER: Thank you!