Dear Annie: I recently broke up with my boyfriend, “Justin,” after almost two years. I ended it because I realized I’m too young (early 20s) for such a serious relationship. I know I need more time to experience life on my own, pursue graduate studies in my field and probably date a little more.
The problem? I still love him. It’s as though the moment I admitted I’m not ready, my brain flipped a switch, and now all the thoughts I was having about living in the city, going to grad school, etc., are overshadowed by how much I love him and will miss being with him.
Justin has been understanding about the situation and has even told me he thinks it would be good for me to date more. He’s smart enough not to want a relationship with someone whose heart isn’t totally there. He also has assured me I won’t lose him completely. After we both have time to heal, I know we will at least remain friends.
I’m so torn right now. I care about him very much, but there were definitely problems with the relationship that he and I both needed to work on. I’m very scared and lost and need some advice. — Anonymous in the City
Dear Anonymous: Let us start by saying we think you did the right thing. The problems in your relationship and the sense that you were missing out would not have disappeared. It’s natural for you to feel a combination of sadness and regret, but major decisions shouldn’t be based solely on the fear of making a mistake. Justin is willing to give you breathing space. Take it.
Dear Annie: Four years ago, I married a widower. His former wife was not only very popular, but a saint as well. When we run into people, we are always subjected to conversation about what a wonderful person “Mary” was and how everyone just loved her. Even now, my mother-in-law lets me know how much they all miss Mary and that they wish she were still here because she would be so proud of her adult children. I’ve finally learned to ignore her.
I don’t doubt all these wonderful things about Mary. I once watched the video of the funeral, and even I cried, wishing I had known her. But Mary is gone, and I think it is rude for me to be bombarded with her accolades. I can never measure up.
My husband usually just stands there and listens. I think he likes to hear these things. I’ve explained to my husband how this makes me feel, but he is very unsympathetic. Is there something I can say to these people without being rude? In Mary’s Shadow
Dear Shadow: Say politely and slowly, “I’ve heard Mary was a wonderful woman. I’m sure everyone misses her.” You’ll sound gracious and kind, and anything less will be taken as sour grapes.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Scared Mom” sent shivers down my spine. I have been in her children’s shoes. My dad is also bipolar and abusive, and won’t take his medication.
My advice is to get out now. Her children need to be able to feel safe in their home. I didn’t feel safe until I moved into the college dorm. As a child, I prayed my parents would divorce. I am 38 years old and have vertigo due to head trauma from the repeated abuse. My mom didn’t protect me. In fact, she is still with him and has a whole new set of excuses to stay. Yes, the highs are wonderful, but they aren’t worth it. I’ve told my husband if I ever start to exhibit signs of bipolar disorder to just put Prozac in my coffee. — Long Road to Normal
Dear Normal: How sad that your parents neglected your safety. We hope others will learn from your heartbreaking letter.
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 on 10.09.07