Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:40 pm
Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. He is wonderful, except he still pays the cell phone bill for his former girlfriend, “Valerie.” Val’s mother and father are also on the plan and can easily afford their own phone bills.
At first, I was like, OK, I will not be jealous. But it irks me to write that check every month. And now all of a sudden Valerie needs my boyfriend’s help finding a new car. She still calls and e-mails him daily.
Is there a way to cut the cord? I am getting sick of biting my tongue. — Ouch
Dear Ouch: Stop biting and speak up. Unless Val is destitute, we can think of no legitimate reason for your boyfriend to continue paying her cell phone bill or that of her parents. Explain that he is only making things more difficult for Valerie. She cannot move on unless she can be independent of him, and he is making that impossible. He should not be so enmeshed with an ex-girlfriend, unless, of course, he doesn’t want her to be so “ex,” if you get our drift.
Dear Annie: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, at age 32, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have no family history of the disease and would not have considered myself to be at risk. My gynecologist found the lump during a routine exam.
Based on my history and age, the doctor decided the lump was nothing to worry about. Several months passed before I was concerned enough to make a follow-up appointment for a mammogram — which showed the cancer.
Please tell your readers to do monthly breast self-examinations. It is recommended that women start performing them at age 20. If a lump is discovered, see a health care provider and insist on a mammogram. In most cases, it will turn out to be nothing, but cancer is a possibility at any age. It can and does happen every day to ordinary young people like me. Early detection is the key to survival. — Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: Thank you for taking the time to alert our readers. There has been some controversy recently about the efficacy of self-exams, since they can lead to unnecessary biopsies. Still, any lump should be taken seriously. Most private insurance plans and Medicare will cover mammogram screening, and those without insurance should call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 1-800-232-4636 to find a free or low-cost screening. Anyone who would like more information can access the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Web site at nbcam.org.
Dear Annie: “Seattle Grand-mother” was concerned about an adult man who liked to play with little kids. After years of marriage and three beautiful little girls, I grew suspicious of my father-in-law’s obsession with children. I found stashes of toys in his room. Once, I let him baby-sit while I went to the grocery store and came home to find my little darlings sitting on the couch with Grandpa, watching porn.
My husband didn’t take my concerns seriously, so I packed up my kids and left. The next 18 years were tough. I had to deal with anger and denial from my two eldest daughters, who remembered Grandpa’s lovely house and whose father told them after every visit that I broke up our family.
Last year, my ex-husband told our grown daughters that he discovered Grandpa was a convicted child molester and admitted I had done the right thing by leaving. I am happy my girls know the truth, but I feel sad for my ex, as this destroyed his family. The grandparents, near 90, no longer see their children or grandchildren. Grandma is despised as well, for she kept his dirty little secret.
Remember that the voice in your head is there for a reason. Listen to it. — Gut Instinct
Dear Instinct: It’s too bad it took your ex so long to uncover the truth, but the vindication must be a relief to 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 10.02.08