Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m 19, and I have a full-time job, but I still live at home with my single mother. I pay her rent and help her pay the household bills because she doesn’t have a lot of money coming in, and I even bring in some groceries every other week when I get paid. There’s just the two of us in our home.

Two years ago, I was dating a guy I cared for, but for some reason, my mother didn’t seem to like him much at all. When I look back on it, one of the reasons she didn’t like him was that he had long hair and a shaggy beard. He also usually wore cowboy-style work boots and a leather jacket. Instead of a hat on top of this, he wore a kerchief tied around his forehead. And, unfortunately, he left town because he had a complicated run-in with his employer and the police, and they told them if he would resign and leave town, they wouldn’t press charges against him. So, he left and went back to North Carolina to live, over 1,000 miles away, which is where he came from before he moved to our state.

Then, a month ago, he came by my work, and I couldn’t believe my eyes! He was clean-cut, had no beard, was wearing nice clothes and brought me lunch. Since then, I’ve seen him three times, and I’ve discovered that I still like him. And to be honest, I like the clean-cut version of him even more. He was much calmer, and he told me about several positive, more responsible changes he has made in his life.

Of course, my mother is not aware that I am seeing him again. Since I’m 19, I know I don’t need her permission to date him, but in the back of my mind, I know that I truly don’t want to upset her. Should I continue seeing him without telling my mom, or should I tell her and let her get upset now to get it over with?

— Sneaky Daughter,

via email

Dear Sneaky Daughter: Yes, tell your mom right away that he has returned and that she will be surprised when she sees him, because he has a new look and a new attitude.

Go out for coffee with the two of them so she can see him for herself.

It’s better you inform your mom about him than for her to hear it from someone else.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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Jones Hooks, executive director of Jekyll Island Authority, received recognition for his many year of service to the Georgia Economic Development Association when he was recently named an Honorary Life Member.