Acting your age is strictly optional

Dear Nicole:

Here’s the dilemma. We can’t act, look or live our age.

Most of those in our four-score and 10-plus years (and many way younger) here are flabby, inactive, dull and wear old people’s clothes (you know, the baggy things). And, this includes both species: native and from away. Hey, can we say that we enjoy real sex? So, do we just give up and “act our age”? Help.

P.S., Regards to Gidget

— Alive in Brooksville

First of all, Gidget (my dog) appreciates the regards. It’s more than she gets at home sometimes!

So I will say you do not have to act your age. It just sounds like you need some cool younger friends who get how cool you are. Wear whatever you want, have whatever kind of sex you want, be as active as you want to be. You know why? Because it’s your life. If anyone has an opinion on it, it’s their problem, not yours. Something tells me you have the confidence to pull this off so have fun turning heads.

Dear Nicole:

I have a horrible confession: I really dislike my soon-to-be stepson. My fiancée and I will be getting married this June and she is an incredible person — smart, kind, funny and generous. Her teenage son, on the other hand, is a holy terror. He’s constantly getting in trouble at school and occasionally with the law. He breaks my fiancée’s rules and refuses to get a job, plan for the future or contribute to society in any way. I realize that I am not this boy’s parent and that my responsibility as a stepparent largely will be to support my wife, but I worry that it is wrong to join our families when I don’t even like the kid. Does loving the mom mean I have to love the son?

— Reluctant Stepdad

Loving mom means you have to at least like the son. Trust me, he can tell you don’t like him. If you want to remain in both of these people’s lives, you’ll have to work the mom and the son angle on this one.

Mom angle: It could be you and Mom need to talk about what’s acceptable behavior and how that behavior is enforced. Do you believe in grounding? Curfews? Kicking the kid out if he’s not paying rent by X date? Just because you’re not the dad doesn’t mean you can’t help Mom with her son, but helping means agreeing on what is and isn’t acceptable, and consistent consequences you both enforce, first and foremost.

Son angle: You need to get to know this kid. Is there something you can do together, whether it’s go to a diner and grab breakfast, just the two of you, or go fishing together? Tell him you just want to spend some time… and mean it. He may say no the first time, but keep asking. Some quality time may help you understand the son better. You’ll have years of family dinners and more ahead so it’s important you at least like each other. Build this relationship now while you can.

I didn’t hear you mention the father being in the picture. I think you being a father figure is especially important if that is the case. Not a father, a father figure. I think that’s something everyone could agree on, even the son when he’s in a good mood.

And I will say if you are having any doubts about this, put the wedding on hold. Unmarrying someone is a lot more heartache, complications and paperwork than marrying someone. Be sure in addition to being ready.


Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]

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