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Dear Abby 2/7
Woman dating student analyst is ready to get off his counch
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DEAR ABBY: I have been out of the dating scene for a while. I was divorced nine years ago. My children are 27, 19, 16 and 17. My oldest two are married; the other two are still at home.
    I recently started dating a guy who is studying to become a psychiatrist, and he constantly evaluates everything I say — including small talk about my children. How can I stop him without upsetting him over his true passion? Not every conversation has an undercurrent. Sometimes I just want to chat, but he will start asking me questions, and I think I tell him too much because he then picks apart everything I say.
    I try to be honest in this relationship, but I have shut up about some things because I don't need him evaluating my past relationships, how I reared my kids, etc. At my age, I really don't have that kind of couch time. We can't even have sex without him analyzing my feelings. I have been alone awhile, but isn't this a bit too much for the psyche? — USUALLY JOYFUL IN OKLAHOMA
    DEAR USUALLY JOYFUL: Your boyfriend's entry into the study of human behavior must be very recent, or he would realize how obnoxious it is when he does what he is doing. The next time he starts analyzing you, remind him that he isn't licensed to practice yet — and tell him that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. If someone doesn't get that message across to him, I predict that you will be only the first of many to run from this aspiring shrink.
    DEAR ABBY: I am a student who recently moved into a townhouse with three other housemates. My question concerns etiquette when giving someone a "tour."
    My good friend "Amy" came over, but I did not feel comfortable showing her my housemates' rooms, even though they weren't home. But Amy walked right on into their rooms anyway, even opening their closets! When we went into the kitchen, she opened every cupboard and the refrigerator, even removing food items to get a better look.
    I was shocked by Amy's behavior and thought it was very inappropriate. Was I overreacting? By giving her the tour, did I invite her to inspect the entire house? In the future, I'd like to avoid this situation with other friends. What should I say? — INVADED IN THE NORTH
    DEAR INVADED: You did not overreact. Your friend Amy is both nosy and nervy. In the future, should something like that happen, say, "Whoa! That's off-limits. My housemate(s) will have to show you their private room(s) when they're home. I can't let you go in there — it's an invasion of their privacy."
    Any or all of these statements should suffice. However, if they don't — take the person by the arm and "guide" her/him away.

    DEAR ABBY: I'm curious to know what makes men of any age sleep on couches and easy chairs in the daytime? I don't know of any women who do it. — MARISA C., ONTARIO, CANADA
    DEAR MARISA: Men nap on couches and easy chairs because they are sleepy (or perhaps bored). However, this trait is not quite gender-specific. In fact, I am sure there are also women who do it, too. You just don't happen to be acquainted with any who admit it. (Zzzzzz ...)
    DEAR ABBY: Please explain the difference between gossip, interesting conversation and expressing an opinion. — AVIS IN HOUSTON
    DEAR AVIS: Gossip is saying something unkind or embarrassing behind someone's back. Some people mistake this for "interesting conversation." However, interesting conversation usually involves discussing ideas — not the behavior (or misbehavior) of other people. Expressing an opinion is what I have just done.
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