Susan Deitz

DEAR SUSAN: I realize that children aren't supposed to be exposed to their divorced parents' dating lives, but how would you handle this? My boyfriend lives with me, and his kids, who are in elementary school, come to us for the weekend. Is he supposed to sleep on the couch every time they are here? And what about his former wife? What should she do? Her boyfriend lives several states away from her and pays a weekend visit once a month or so. From the Single File blogDEAR BLOGGER:Dogma on the issue is faulty, ad hoc and entirely variable. So much depends on the children involved -- their ages, upbringing, maturity level, relationship with the parents -- that any advice from anyone should be general, leaving specifics up to the people who know the cast of characters. The ex-spouses should meet, without the children, to agree on a method of handling sleepovers. Little heads have large imaginations. The best way to avoid misinterpretation is to avoid confusing situations. If the four of you reach agreement, the situation is handled for the interim. The cast of characters may change, but the general approach must hold firm, at least for now, and at some point, you may want to speak to a therapist.

DEAR SUSAN: I have read your advice for some years. Not long ago, the idea of older women with younger men seemed to be receiving lots of positive push in your column. I've been married to a man eight years younger for almost 35 years, and mostly no one questioned the age difference. Menopause was early. I gave birth to our son at 37, and my husband kept thinking we had lots of time together. But here's the glitch. I'm going to be 67 this year, and he'll be 59. Now that he is all but aging and I am fast looking my age or older, it just wrecks the evening when he's at the buffet table and is asked whether he's getting food for his mother. If I were older and gorgeous, it wouldn't matter, but I also lost my hair. Luckily, my husband doesn't care, but I do. So think a little about the future, older women, when you choose a young, handsome guy. You may be his match for lots of years, but the wallop at the end is hard to take. From the Single File blogDEAR BLOGGER:Younger men have been raised during times of female equality and entitlement, so they're a lot closer to women's side of issues than their older brothers. There is the rather unfortunate endgame, but years with a loving partner can configure happiness.