While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On asking a partner to change: I am moving from a friendship into possibly more with someone. As things have gotten more emotionally intimate, my anxiety level has ratcheted up to the point where I thought about asking him to make some small tweaks to help mitigate it - for example, to plan things further in advance or communicate more often.
I decided against asking. The more I get to know him, the more I realize he is reliable, considerate and mature. If I ask him to do things differently, even if the differences seem small, and even if he is willing, for each thing he changes for me, that's a piece of the real him that I miss out on knowing. So, I have decided to deal with my anxiety in other ways so I can let this thing unfold in its own way.
On accepting gifts from an abusive parent: I'm surprised more people don't employ the tool I call the "junk money" fund. This is an account where you put any money you receive that's questionable, unexpected or unwanted. You don't spend this money until you yourself have a questionable, unwanted or unexpected cost.
No one can foretell the future. This child of an abuser may find him/herself having to pay for the abusive parent's care. How fitting if the junk money were available for that purpose. Using the parent's own money to support him would free the child from the resentment such support would otherwise be likely to cause.
On 18-year-olds and unsupervised camping trips: There is nothing they can do camping that they can't do anytime, anywhere.
When my kids went on their senior trips, my wife was telling them all the rules. Their eyes were in a blank stare, like she was from a Peanuts cartoon wah wah wah wah wah.
I walked up, looked my son in the eye and said, "No births, no deaths, no police, have a great time!" He understood that.
Admittedly it was more difficult to say it to my daughter, but I did it.
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