Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:05 pm
Dear Annie: I’m a sophomore in college and live far away from my hometown, so I rarely see my friends or family. I wouldn’t mind so much except that I’m in a long-distance relationship with “Rob,” whom I have known since I was very young.
I know such relationships can be difficult, but this one is completely over the top. Rob has always been emotionally and verbally abusive, but now he has gotten so bad I’m afraid he’s becoming mentally unstable. Schizophrenia runs in his family, but he refuses to seek counseling.
Here’s the real problem. I’ve met another guy. “Alex” is funny, sweet and kind, and he loves me a lot. The feeling is mutual. What do I do now? Should I dump Rob and risk making him angry? Should I ditch Alex and be miserable? Should I throw away my life for the wrong guy? — Didn’t Mean To Two-Time
Dear Didn’t Mean: So you’ve outgrown Rob, who is unstable and abusive, but you don’t want to make him angry because he’s a little scary. You can talk this over with one of the university counselors. Then tell your parents that you want to break up with Rob, but you are worried about his potential for being abusive.
It would be best if you could find a way to separate yourself gradually and naturally. Be nice on the phone and in your e-mails, but not too friendly or romantic, and don’t contact him too often. Don’t say you miss him or love him. Talk about class to the point where he’s bored. Your aim is to convince Rob he’d like to move on, too.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are part of a book club that meets at a different member’s house each week. One of the couples has three large dogs that jump on us, sniff up and down my legs, stick their noses in my crotch and lick my feet. I hate going to their house because of the dogs.
This couple doesn’t attempt to control the dogs’ behavior. Instead, they say if we ignore the animals, they will stop. Trust me, it doesn’t work. They can clearly see that we spend the night trying to keep the dogs off of us. What can I say or do so my evening isn’t ruined? — Anonymous
Dear Anonymous: This couple is being inconsiderate of their guests. Not everyone finds it charming to have their feet licked, their bottoms sniffed and dog hair deposited on all their clothing.
The next time it’s their turn to host the book club, call in advance and ask if they will please put the dogs in another room for the evening, as they make you very uncomfortable. If they refuse, you have the choice of putting up with it, attending only at other members’ homes or finding another book club.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Fed Up With Our Son” certainly struck home. She said her son wouldn’t let them see the grandchildren because they didn’t want to sign some kind of paper for them. Emotional blackmail is repugnant. I know.
My nephew wrecked his car in a crash. I unwisely loaned my sister the best of my three cars, with the provision that she would be the only one to drive it. Against my wishes, she gave the keys to my nephew’s wife, saying I had three cars and her nephew’s family had none since he wrecked his.
I demanded the car back and offered instead to pay for a rental car for my nephew’s wife, but this was unacceptable to them. Now my relatives have shunned me for my response to a problem I did not cause and can’t fix. The issue is liability. My insurance agent says I shouldn’t let anyone else use my car.
Tell your readers not to loan their automobiles. If you can afford it, renting is potentially far cheaper for everyone involved and serves to keep things grounded in reality. — Louisville, Ky.
Dear Louisville: How kind of you to offer to pay for the rental car. It’s a shame these people don’t realize how lucky they are to have such a generous relative.
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 12.16.08