Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 21-year-old woman who just moved back home after two years of living and learning on my own. My family has been wonderful to accept me back into their home until I finish my studies in a few months, after which I assume I'll be getting a job and my own place.

I have an amazing boyfriend, "Jordan," with whom I would love to spend some nights. I'm afraid if I do I would be disrespecting my parents' wishes — my father is a preacher — but at the same time I feel restricted because I got used to being on my own and doing what I wanted.

I know a few months doesn't sound like a long time, but what if I can't get a job right away and have to stay here longer? Jordan and I aren't ready to move in together, but we'd like some overnight visits. What do you think?

— GROWN-UP GIRL IN KENTUCKY

DEAR GROWN-UP GIRL: Have your parents met Jordan? Do they like him? If they have and they do, it would make things easier on you. You should definitely respect your father's position and sensitivities. A more acceptable compromise than spending "nights out" might be for you and Jordan to arrange some weekend getaways together. Of this I am certain: Young love will find a way.

DEAR ABBY: I am a man who, for 46 years, has been celebrating my birthday on Aug. 31. I recently took a trip to Northern California to visit my older sister. While we were talking about our birthdays and our late parents, my sister dropped a bombshell. She informed me that my birthday was NOT Aug. 31, but actually Sept. 1 — like hers.

As you can imagine, I was shocked. Why would my own mother lie to me about something as important as my own date of birth? Mom even went so far as to have the doctor change the date on my birth certificate! My two older brothers confirmed it.

I am devastated at the dishonesty. Why would a mother do such a thing? Celebrating my birthday will never be the same again.

— SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS IN SYRACUSE

DEAR SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS: If I had to guess, I'd say your mother was trying to do you a favor. She didn't want you and your sister to have to share a birthday; she wanted each of you to have your own special day.

What I find disconcerting is that the doctor would go along with it because a birth certificate is a legal document, and to change it is not only a breach of ethics, but also against the law.

DEAR ABBY: I am being married in October and asked my matron of honor's daughter "Crystal" to sing at my wedding. However, she has not yet bothered to learn the song we requested.

Another young woman at our church has a much better voice, already knows the words and has offered to sing for us. I want to tell my friend that Crystal isn't taking this seriously and I would like to hire the other singer, but I'm afraid she will be offended. How do I approach this subject?

— NERVOUS BRIDE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR NERVOUS: To accuse your matron of honor's daughter of shirking her responsibility half a year before the wedding would be jumping the gun and cause hard feelings. If Crystal hasn't learned the lyrics by the end of August, tell her mother then that you feel the young woman hasn't taken the honor seriously and you have found someone who already knows the song. So calm down, secure in the knowledge that you have a qualified understudy standing in the wings if your first choice is unprepared.

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.