Dear Annie: I am 15 years old and recently ended a seven-month relationship with “David.” I broke up with him partly because I was very unhappy (I never cried so much in my life) and also because I was falling for “Howard.”
About three weeks after the breakup, Howard asked me out and, of course, I said yes. Well, let me tell you, it’s only been a month, but I have never been happier. Howard is a perfect gentleman, funny, sweet, a straight-A student, on the track team and an all-around wonderful guy.
The problem is my mother does not approve of my being with Howard. She constantly spoke poorly of David and was always telling me to dump him for someone better. When I told my mother about Howard, I thought she’d be delighted to know I found someone so amazing. Instead, she became upset. She won’t let me go anywhere with him, says she has no desire to meet him and won’t acknowledge him as my boyfriend, saying we should not be together. Every time I ask her why, she either responds with “because” or “you’ll understand later.”
Howard has made every effort to get to know my parents. Dad thinks he’s a nice guy, but Mom ignores him. This makes me sad because her approval means the world to me. I know if Mom gave him a chance, she would absolutely adore him. How can I make that happen? — Confused
Dear Confused: Your mother doesn’t want you to be too involved with any guy because you are 15 and a serious boyfriend might create situations for which you are unprepared. Ask your mother if she will permit you to go somewhere with Howard if there are several other friends with you. If she refuses, please respect that. You won’t gain her approval by sneaking around. Instead, ask if it’s OK to invite Howard to spend time at your home, where your parents can get to know him gradually. If she still refuses, enlist your father’s help to find out why.
Dear Annie: How appropriate is it for middle-age men to ask younger women for a friendly hug?
I encounter co-workers on a regular basis. I am a little put off by men older than my father asking me, “Where’s my hug?” I genuinely like a few of them, but my “creep meter” has been going off a lot lately. Asking for hugs seems a little presumptuous, not to mention it makes my skin crawl. What should I do? — A Wave Is Fine for Me
Dear Wave: The age of these men should not be a factor. Simply put your hands on the guy’s shoulders to hold him at a brief distance, smile broadly and say, “It’s great to see you!” Then move your attention (and your body) elsewhere. If necessary, tell them you are not comfortable with all the hugging. And anyone who grabs you more closely than you like should be given a clear signal to back off.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Crazy Not Stupid,” who feels she is too mentally unstable to hold a job.
Mental illness can be grounds for disability under Social Security. It’s not easy to qualify, but if this woman believes she is too ill to work and her therapist agrees, she should contact the Social Security Administration about applying for benefits. If she qualifies, this would help her financial situation as well as demonstrate to her husband that she truly is unable to work.
People forget that Social Security isn’t just retirement income. It provides disability benefits as well. — Mary S. Sheridan, Ph.D., ACSW, Licensed Social Worker and Professor of Social Work, Hawaii Pacific University
Dear Dr. Sheridan: Thanks for your expertise. We hope “Crazy Not Stupid” will check into it and see if she qualifies.
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. 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 1.21.08