Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I have been going out since I was 14. We are now both 17 and still virgins. “Jack” thinks it’s time we take our relationship a little further, if you know what I mean.
I love Jack a lot, but to tell you the truth, I’m scared to have sex. What happens if I get pregnant or sick? Should I tell him to wait? Don’t get me wrong. I would love to take our relationship to the next level. How should I tell him I’m scared? Should I just have sex and get over it? I don’t know what to do. — Juliet in Verona
Dear Juliet: Don’t rush into anything you aren’t sure you’re ready to do. You’ve been dating Jack exclusively for three years and such closeness tends to encourage intimacy. Having sex “just to get over it” is hardly a good reason, nor is it likely to make it a pleasant experience. Tell Jack you aren’t ready. If he cares about you, he will understand and not try to persuade you otherwise.
Dear Annie: My husband’s table manners are so disgusting, I can barely stay in the same room with him. He eats incredibly fast, is loud and has no manners. He chews with his mouth open, slurping, slapping and smacking his lips, and is totally oblivious to it. So even if I try not to look at him, I can still hear him. He hunches over his plate, rarely looks up and literally shovels his food into his mouth, usually with bits left dangling from his lips and chin. He finishes his meal at least 10 minutes before anyone else.
At first I tried the nice approach, asking him to please chew with his mouth closed and to slow down a bit so he could enjoy his meal. But he says he doesn’t care. Out of exasperation, I told him it’s repulsive and embarrassing, and that our friends stare at him when we eat out and it makes them uncomfortable. But he says he likes to eat food while it’s hot, is not going to let everything get cold while he takes his time and doesn’t care who is uncomfortable. I’ve offered to reheat his meal in the microwave halfway through dinner, but it makes no difference.
He simply does not care that this really bothers me and I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s seriously repellant. He won’t listen to me. Heck, he probably won’t listen to you, but I have to do something or I’ll end up eating alone forever. He’s in his late 50s and seriously stubborn, so I don’t know if this old dog can learn any new tricks. — Disgusted with Dinner
Dear Disgusted: These eating habits tend to be formed during childhood, when apparently, your husband never got to the food fast enough. We’ll throw in a little passive-aggressive behavior because he derives some satisfaction from knowing how much it bothers you. Changing the way he eats at this late stage will require his cooperation, and it doesn’t seem likely. There’s no point in arguing, lecturing or getting angry. Tolerate what you can, ignore what you can’t, eat in a separate room and, if you have company over, feed him in the kitchen before the guests arrive.
Dear Annie: “Curious in the East” asked how children feel when mothers leave the family for another relationship.
My mom called me while I was away at college to tell me she had moved out. In the months following, I felt: relieved that she had left what I always knew was a miserable situation, betrayed that she hadn’t filled me in sooner on her plans, happy that she found such a wonderful new husband, anxious about how my father was reacting to it and, finally, content with the way everything worked out.
Now my parents are friends again. We celebrated Christmas together last year and it was much more pleasant than when they were married to each other. — At Peace in Florida
Dear Florida: Surprisingly, divorce can sometimes be a blessing even for the children. Thanks for saying so.
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 3.21.08