Dear Annie: “Dennis” has been my boyfriend for over 10 years. We have lived together and apart, and the reason for the apart has been a conflict over marriage. I am 55 years old, he is 57, and we are both divorced. Over the years, I have brought up the subject of marriage three times and it has been the cause of a great debate each time, resulting in my moving out. We then get back together because we still care about each other.
I recently told Dennis how important marriage is to me. I understand it’s just a piece of paper, but to me, it makes us a team. Just living together gives me a sense of impermanence.
I moved out after the last argument and Dennis has not called much. I am pretty sure he feels I am giving him an ultimatum, which I guess I am. Is there any happy medium for this sort of issue? — Resentful
Dear Resentful: Not really. Either you’re married or you’re not. Based on prior experience, Dennis believes you will come back even if he doesn’t agree to marry you. So decide whether you want Dennis or that piece of paper, because it doesn’t look as if you are going to have both.
Dear Annie: I am 14 years old and in the eighth grade, and I LOVE baseball. My goal in life is to play shortstop in the Majors. I’m not a small kid, but I don’t want to hurt myself and take away my chance of making it to the big leagues. The problem is there are people who want to beat me up. And to make it worse, some of the girls I have huge crushes on call me “gay.”
I go to school every day with a knot in my stomach. I have no friends and I don’t know why. My parents are making me see a therapist for my ADHD. I am getting good grades in school, but the only time I’m happy is when I’m playing baseball. I used to be a really bubbly kid. Now I just want to stop being bugged and concentrate on school and baseball. What can I do? — S.S.
Dear S.S.: Eighth grade can be a really difficult time. If other kids are taunting you or threatening to beat you up, you and your parents should report this to the principal. It’s bullying and needs to stop. It will also help if you can find some friends, and this means expanding your participation in after-school as well as school-related activities so you can get to know kids with interests other than baseball. You should discuss this problem with your therapist and ask for specific suggestions. It will help.
Dear Annie: I have additional advice for “Cathy,” the snoring girlfriend. I’ve been through four sleep studies, two surgeries, two years with a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine and various face masks, and two oral devices. The CPAP didn’t work for me. I couldn’t stay in that position all night and have air blowing on my face. I eventually quit using it.
After she has a sleep study, Cathy should ask about an oral device from her dentist. I use the Adjustable PM Positioner, which has helped both my snoring and my sleep apnea — and I can cuddle with my husband. — Sleep Like a Baby in Jackson, Mich.
Dear Jackson: Thanks for the recommendation. Readers who are interested should discuss all options with their doctor. Here’s more:
Dear Annie: My husband and I each use a CPAP, sleep comfortably and quietly, and cuddle all night. Travel is no problem; we take them with us and there are now travel-sized machines. — D.
Dear Annie: My husband snores louder than a lion and won’t go to the doctor, so I bought a $17 sound generator that stays on for up to one hour. Now when his snoring keeps me up, I press a button and drown him out with the sound of crickets or waves or wind. — Grass Valley, Calif.
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 1.29.08