Dear Annie: My boyfriend, “Sam,” and I have been together for over two years. My family has been talking to me lately about breaking up with him.
I don’t think Sam is abusive, but my family feels he is. He is very controlling and I realize that. He doesn’t like me going anywhere without him. He used to go through my phone records to see whom I had been talking to. (I got him to stop doing that.) I cannot have any male friends without him getting suspicious and thinking I am cheating. He comes over to my house every day when he wakes up.
My family really wants us to split up. The problem is, Sam is depressed and has a horrible temper. I am afraid if I break up with him, he might hurt me or my family, and that is the last thing I want. Please help. — Scared and Frustrated in the Carolinas
Dear Carolinas: Sam shows all the signs of being a potential abuser, and the fact that you are afraid of him is reason enough to break up. You are smart to acknowledge that it can be dangerous getting out from under someone who is both controlling and has a bad temper, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be.
Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or visit ndvh.org, and explain your dilemma. Someone there can help you.
Dear Annie: My wife and I recently invited two gentlemen widowers over for a Sunday dinner. We thought they would enjoy our company and a home-cooked meal. Both accepted.
Here is the issue: While we were enjoying the meal, the good company and the conversation, one guest’s cell phone rang. Much to our surprise, he said, “I need to take this” and answered the call right at the table without excusing himself. When he finished, he resumed eating. Not more than five minutes later, his phone rang and, again, he “had to” take it.
Being a gracious host, I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything, but after they left, my wife and I discussed these rude interruptions. We’d like to know the proper response if we are faced with these stupid cell phone intrusions again. Right now, we think our only recourse is to remove him from future invitation lists. What’s your opinion? — Cell Phone Mad
Dear Mad: Considerate people turn their cell phones off during dinner. Is your guest a doctor? The leader of a foreign nation? In other words, if he has a legitimate reason to be interrupted during dinner, you must indulge his rudeness. He should, however, excuse himself from the table and not carry on a private conversation in front of everyone. You can suggest he take the call in another room while you continue without him. If it keeps up, however, say, “You really should go home and take care of whatever is distracting you. Obviously, this turned out to be an inconvenient date to have dinner. Perhaps we can invite you another time.”
Dear Annie: I agree with your advice to “Alone in Wisconsin,” whose fiance felt working overtime was more important than being with family.
My husband is a police officer. He doesn’t have major holidays off — they are the worst part of the year for him. But it wouldn’t matter even if he did. He’s never been one to celebrate special days. He doesn’t see the importance.
Instead of complaining and getting depressed (after many years of doing so), we now do “holidays of life.” Whenever he has a day off, we celebrate. I’ve learned one doesn’t need an excuse to have a special day. If we want to involve the extended family, we have the “day” on a weekend.
I admit this doesn’t work well at Christmas, but I’m thinking of setting up the tree in April for a combined Christmas-anniversary-my birthday celebration. — V.B.
Dear V.B.: This is a wonderful way to turn lemons into lemonade. Good for you.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.18.08