Dear Amy: I am a 15-year-old girl who is in the middle of a custody battle.
My father lives in a different state, and that’s who I want to live with, but my mother has custody of me right now, and my mom won’t let me go live with my dad.
Seeing as how I am 15, I feel I should make the decision, and so I told my mother how I feel. She said, “Well, you’re not in charge of your life. I am, and so you should just be grateful.”
It would seem that I need a better way to approach my mother, but I don’t know how. Please give me some advice. — It’s My Life
Dear My Life: I’m so sorry you are going through this.
Each state operates a little differently when it comes to child custody. Depending on what state you live in, at the age of 15, the court will listen to what you want and will take your wishes into account. There is no guarantee that you will ultimately get to choose which home you will get to live in, but the family court judge will note your preference and make the best decision for you. The court — not you, and not your parents — will make the final decision.
When your parents separated, if your father moved out of state, this might be a factor in the court’s decision; generally, it is best if separated parents live closer together.
You should make your wishes known to both of your parents. Do not insult your mother, but instead explain your reasons as well as you can. Maybe you want a fresh start? If that is the case, then you should say so. Would she be willing to let you live with your father on a trial basis, perhaps over the summer?
Both parents need to adhere to the parenting plan they currently have in place. Your father should make sure that his lawyer — and the court — are aware of your preference.
The court might decide that it is actually best for you to stay where you are. Various factors include your schooling, and both parents’ ability to take care of you.
Dear Amy: I’m 64 and have been a widower for over five years.
I started dating about three years ago.
I have met women through an activity I participate in, then a dating website related to that activity, through business after-hour events, local speed dating, and get-togethers. I’ve also spent many months happily on my own, because dating is a job, and I’m more comfortable now being single. But, after a couple of brief relationships, I would like companionship again.
I recently put up a profile with Facebook on their new dating app. You get to “like” someone and if they like you back, or vice versa, you can chat.
After a line or two back and forth, I ask if they are interested in getting together to see if there is more than an online attraction.
Twice this has happened, and no response. A third woman was going to meet, but then had a death in the family and had to cancel.
Am I asking too soon? Shouldn’t both parties be eager for an in-person meeting?
Isn’t that the whole point of a dating site, to actually date? — Stumped and Frustrated
Dear Stumped: These sites aren’t really “dating” sites, but “matching” sites. All the site does is to create possible matches. Meeting and dating happens later.
Yes, I believe you are asking these women to meet you too soon. The idea is to use the site to see if there is a mutual attraction or interest, and then to use the communication tool to see if you have a rapport.
Many women don’t want to meet a stranger before she feels a level of comfort concerning his identity and intentions. For many people, this requires more than a “line or two” of back and forth. Perhaps you should practice building rapport online. Wait to see if the woman suggests meeting. When you do, meet during the day for coffee.
Dear Amy: In your answer to “Unsure Grandmother,” you gave a call out to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, calling them “heroes.”
Thank you. My husband and I are currently doing this, and we know others who have sacrificed their own retirements in order to parent young children. — Tired
Dear Tired: You put the “grand” in grandparents. Heroic, indeed.