Dear Abby: I am separated from my husband of three years and have a beautiful 2-year-old son. Initially, I thought I'd retain my married name, but the more I've been thinking about it, what harm would it do if I changed it? Is it really going to be that confusing or upsetting to explain to my son? After all, I will always be "Mom" to him, and nothing will change that.
I would love to take my maiden name back and put my husband and this chapter of my life with him behind me. However, we have a son who will always carry his father's name. Is it selfish of me to consider reverting back to my maiden name? —Mrs. Scorned In Illinois
Dear Mrs. Scorned: Not in my opinion. Thirty years ago, thinking on the subject was different. However, today, with so many women retaining their maiden names after marriage, what you have in mind is not unusual. I say, go for it.
Dear Abby: I have a 16-year-old son who got into trouble with the law. He is on probation until September. The problem is, he is still causing trouble and starting fights.
I am afraid of what will happen to his younger brother, who is 10 and has Down syndrome. We live in a new neighborhood, and I don't want our house to get hit by gangs. —Frantic Mom In Saskatoon
Dear Frantic Mom: If your older son is still causing trouble and starting fights, then he is breaking probation. In order to protect your younger boy — and yourself — his probation officer should be notified.
Ideally, your older son should receive some professional counseling to help him deal with his anger issues — some of which may stem from the fact that his younger brother needs so much of your attention. Please see that he gets help before his behavior escalates to the point where someone is seriously injured.
Dear Abby: My 26-year-old son, "Luke," has been engaged for a year and is being married in October. My 24- year-old son, "Elijah," has just announced that he will ask his girlfriend to marry him, and he would like to be married in August.
Would it be improper for him to be married before his brother, who has had his wedding scheduled for quite some time? —Boys' Mom In South Carolina
Dear Mom: I wouldn't be surprised if Luke and his fiancee viewed it as an attempt to upstage them and resented it. Also, if Elijah and his girlfriend are planning a formal wedding, it might create a problem for relatives who have to pay for travel and lodging for two weddings two months apart.
I recommend that unless there is a compelling reason for him to be married in August, Elijah postpone his wedding until the following year.
Dear Abby: Is it wrong to have a sugar daddy? I am a 29-year-old woman who wants to go back to school and get a degree. The gentleman making the offer is an older man I met and befriended several years ago.
What if there is no sex involved? What if he is simply a generous benefactor of a cause — the cause being me and my educational future? —Ambivalent In Brooklyn, N.Y.
Dear Ambivalent: If there is no sex involved and he is simply a generous benefactor, then he is not a "sugar daddy." He is your mentor, and you'd be foolish not to accept his generosity.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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