Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 11:09 pm
Dear Annie: My boyfriend, “Dennis,” and I were friends for seven years before we became a couple. A few nights ago, during a normal conversation, he suddenly said he was really annoyed with my questions. He said he couldn’t believe I needed to ask about things “even a person of average intelligence would know.”
Annie, I work at a university, hold a master’s degree and consider myself very intelligent. The meanness Dennis used to express his annoyance is what worries me. After his initial outburst, I tried to change the subject, but he immediately went back to complaining that my questions were not intelligent.
I felt attacked. Dennis apologized the following day, using as an excuse the fact that he’s been under stress, but it struck me as emotionally abusive. We rarely fight or exchange unpleasant words, but his mean streak showed up once before, and now I worry what will happen when we marry. I’m thinking about calling off the engagement. Am I overreacting? — Worried
Dear Worried: A major component of a good marriage is respect for your partner. It doesn’t sound as if Dennis thinks very highly of your intellect. It is, of course, possible that you are asking too many questions altogether and Dennis simply became exasperated. Review your conversation and decide whether you may have been partly at fault. If not, please get premarital counseling before taking the next step.
Dear Annie: I am a 25-year-old single mother of two. I live in a home that my mother purchased to get my son and me out of a bad situation.
My dilemma is that my parents are very religious and go to church twice on Sundays. I have come to realize that I no longer want to be a part of the church. I believe God is everywhere and loves everyone. I just don’t want to be a part of a church that feels like a cult to me.
I don’t know how to tell my mother I no longer wish to go with her on Sundays. I’m afraid it will break her heart and that she will ask me to leave the house she owns. I feel hypocritical attending church, but I don’t want to hurt anyone. — Confused Christian
Dear Confused: This is one of those things you should be honest about, although you don’t have to hit your mother over the head with it. Simply say, with great sincerity and regret, that you are uncomfortable attending this particular church.
If she questions you about your decision, be prepared to answer truthfully. Of course, you must be willing to take your lumps, even if that means moving out of the house.
Dear Annie: “Susie in Texas” thinks people without health insurance have chosen to live off of others instead of pulling their own weight. I don’t have health insurance, but I don’t live off of Susie or anyone else. When I go to the doctor, I pay cash at the time of treatment.
I don’t have health insurance because the best plan I could find costs $239 a month and comes with a $6,000 deductible. That means before I get any coverage, I’m out $8,868. On the other hand, when I go to the doctor (for considerably less), I get a discount for paying cash. It doesn’t make financial sense for me to buy health insurance (it amounts to 25 percent of my income — too much for me), and I’m not the only one who finds the cost excessive.
I’ve been lucky not to be terribly ill, but if it were to happen, I’d probably just suffer rather than use all my resources to stay alive. And I certainly wouldn’t want to use up Susie’s assistance. Thank you for pointing out to her that it is a complicated issue. — Cam in Washington
Dear Cam: We understand how expensive insurance can be, but some people have found that catastrophic insurance, which covers only major illness and hospitalization, suits their needs. You might look into it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
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Published in The Messenger 12.24.08