Her mother might be charmed by gold digger

Dear Annie: I am writing about my widowed mother, who lives in another state. Mom is 68 years old and attractive. She also is quite wealthy.
For the past year, "Mike" has been doing some construction around Mom's home. They began dating four weeks ago, and Mike already has told Mom that if they marry, he would sign a prenuptial agreement so "her daughter (me) would inherit everything." It seems odd to me that these comments are coming out so soon in their relationship, and I worry that he is overly focused on Mom's money.
Lately, Mike has been at Mom's home all the time, and when I call, she often is distant and distracted. I care about my mother and want her to enjoy life. It's possible Mike is a nice guy, but Mom is susceptible to being charmed by a gold digger. It seems as if Mike is quickly becoming a dominant force in her life. I'll be honest that I also do not want to lose my inheritance. If I express my concerns to my mother, I am sure I will alienate her. Any suggestions? Confused Out West
Dear Concerned: Since your mother is a competent adult, you have no say in her love life, even if that means watching her make a mistake. If she should, in fact, decide to marry Mike, however, she ought to take him up on that prenup.
Before jumping to conclusions, you ought to get to know Mike. Plan a visit to see Mom, and spend some time with "The Gold Digger" so you can see for yourself if you have cause to worry.
Dear Annie: I have been married for three years to a man who had children from a previous marriage. I love my husband dearly, but raising stepchildren requires patience and effort. Over the years, I have grown to love his children, but it was sometimes difficult. I'd like to share my 10 rules for success:
1. Remember that you are not marrying one person, you are marrying a family.
2. The kids come first.
3. I set the rules and make the decisions for my children, and he does the same for his. We do not discipline each other's children.
4. Keep finances separate. I do not want to hear that I should not spend money that I earned on my child, nor does my spouse. We split monthly household expenses.
5. If possible, befriend the ex-spouse (the other parent).
6. Never say a bad word about your spouse's ex in front of the children.
7. Try to remember that it is not you the stepchildren have a problem with. It is your role in their life.
8. Let the kids set the pace for a relationship; do not push yourself on them. Be consistent, be yourself, and do not give up.
9. Allow some alone time for your spouse to be with his/her children. Take advantage of this time to treat yourself.
10. Plan a family night. Play games, order pizza, relax.
Stepfamilies can be challenging and rewarding. Wife and Stepmom
Dear Stepmom: Your list should be framed and posted in the home of every stepfamily. Thank you for your contribution to this space.
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.