Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I am 18 and have been in a relationship with “Justin” since I was 15. I couldn’t ask for anyone better. Justin would do anything for me. We love each other’s families and friends, too. Let’s just say I feel married.
But lately, I feel like we should have some space. Justin doesn’t agree. He says once we’re apart, he will leave for good. He doesn’t understand why we need this. He doesn’t believe in breaks. However, I think it would make us realize whether we really are meant for each other, instead of wondering when we’re much older and it’s too late.
I don’t want to lose Justin forever, but I can’t help the way I feel. Do I stay in this relationship and make the best of it? After all, we do love each other. Or do I take the chance of giving myself some space and risk losing him for good? — Terrified and Confused in Canada
Dear Canada: Take the risk. If you are feeling boxed in now, it will only get worse over time and destroy the relationship when the stakes are higher. You both deserve the chance to see what else is out there before making a commitment to each other, especially since you haven’t had the opportunity before. Justin is issuing ultimatums because he is scared. You’ve been together a long time, and it can be daunting to give up the familiar for the new. And yes, there is a possibility you won’t get back together. But if you don’t give yourself some space now, you are likely to regret it later.
Dear Annie: My wife has early Alzheimer’s, which is not noticeable by casual friends. The problem is that serving on committees, hosting arrangements, taking telephone messages and organizing programs are beyond her ability to handle. I make sure these requests are turned down, but I have a strong urge to explain why and then feel guilty if I tell.
Do you have any suggestions that would help me decide when to explain and when to withhold this information? — Loyal Husband
Dear Husband: According to Beth Kallmyer, MSW, senior director of constituent services at the Alzheimer’s Association, when to share a diagnosis is a personal decision that differs for everyone. While it is important for people with Alzheimer’s to remain engaged in meaningful activities, the opportunities should match your wife’s current skill set.
Consider having a conversation with her, and together decide who to tell and how. Sharing this information with close friends or family is often a good place to start. If either you or your wife feels uncomfortable sharing her diagnosis with a wider circle, you could agree upon a response, such as, “After many years of leading committees and organizing programs, my wife has decided to step down so she can concentrate on her hobbies. She would still love to participate, so please keep her on your invitation list.” For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) at 1-800- 272-3900.
Dear Annie: “Married and Alone” could have been me 60 years ago. I used to become terribly upset with my husband because he never gave me cards or gifts on special occasions. I would get so hurt that I would cry.
One day, my husband took me in his arms and said, “Honey, wouldn’t you rather that I love you every day of the year and not just two or three?”
It is now a running joke in our home for me to buy myself a gift and thank him for his wonderful taste. Once in a great while, I will get a Valentine’s Day card. But for 60 years, he has given me that adoring look that says “I love you.” That is so much better than any card or gift. — Loving that Man of Mine in Ithaca, N.Y.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.27.10