Happy home life stops couple from going out

Dear Abby: My boyfriend, "Mark," and I have been together for a year. We met at work, and have dated ever since. Several months ago we were offered a job opportunity in another state. We moved in together and are happy.

My problem is, over the past few months we have been living together, our personal relationship has come to a halt. We still care about each other deeply, but no longer do the things couples do. We don't go out on dates or see the new city we've moved to.

Do you have any advice on how I can get Mark to go out and see the sights without sounding whiny or pushy? – Baltimore and D.C. Beckon

Dear Baltimore: Tell Mark the two of you appear to have become housebound and you don't think it's healthy – particularly because Baltimore and Washington, D.C., have many entertainment and cultural opportunities to offer. Then create a "bucket list" and have him choose from the menu of choices that are available. If that doesn't inspire him, ask HIM to create a list, or start exploring on your own.

If you are successful at getting Mark out of the house, it may liven up your relationship. But if it doesn't, you may have more serious problems to deal with, and a heart-to-heart talk with him about your entire relationship is in order.

Dear Abby: My son's birthday was yesterday. I invited him to dinner at a very nice restaurant. When he showed up, he had two other men with him. They didn't offer to pay for their food, so I had to pay for all of us.

My son is 32, and I would like to say something about this to him. Or should I just not invite him to nice dinners out? – Taken Advantage Of in Sugarland, Texas

Dear Taken Advantage Of: No. SAY something to him. And when you do, it should be something like this: "Son, springing unexpected guests on your host is bad manners.

You should have asked permission first. I was appalled that your friends didn't offer to share the expense. Please don't do that again because if you do, I'll stop inviting you."

Dear Abby: My parents divorced many years ago. Dad started dating and moved in with a woman I'll call Crystal a few months later. They stayed together for several years. I lived with them part-time then, and eventually only occasionally. I don't have a good relationship with my father.

Since then, he and Crystal have broken up and Dad moved away. I never felt particularly close with her, but she calls and emails me incessantly, begging me to spend time together. She even refers to her daughter as my "sister." She never showed much interest in me when we lived together, and I'm confused how to respond. – Bewildered

Dear Bewildered: Crystal may be attempting to maintain a presence in your father's life by continuing a relationship with you. The next time she emails, email her back and point out that your father has moved on with his life, and it is time for her to do the same because you are busy.

A Note to Parents of Young Children: Tonight is the night when wee witches and goblins collect their loot. Please supervise them so they'll be safe. Happy Halloween, everyone! – Abby

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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