Boyfriend can’t get his act together

I have been with an amazing man for many years. “Todd” is funny and sweet, and my family adores him.

Dear Annie: I have been with an amazing man for many years.

“Todd” is funny and sweet, and my family adores him. However, I continue to question our relationship because, although he’s very motivated, he lacks the follow through.

Todd has started and stopped numerous careers and changed his course of school study more times than I can count.

I, on the other hand, have finished two degrees and started a career. He is in the exact same place he was when we started the relationship.

My family loves him so much that they make excuses for his situation. They say, “Give him time,” but it’s been four years. Am I being too picky?

Should I be happy that I have found someone who treats me well? And if I do give him more time, how long do I wait for him to get his act together?

I believe Todd may have ADD. He mentioned he was diagnosed as a teen but stopped taking the medication because it “made him jittery.”

I’m sure many advances have been made in the treatment of ADD within the last 10 years. How can I approach him about seeking help again without hurting his feelings or making him defensive? – Restless and Waiting

Dear Restless: If you are planning to marry Todd, you ought to be able to discuss your concerns honestly with him.

Ask if he is bothered by his inability to stick with a specific career. Mention that adult ADD can be problematic, that there might be medication that works better for him and that, along with behavior modification, he could find ways to be more focused. Then decide whether Todd’s other qualities make up for this particular irritation, because we can’t promise it will change. Not every man has to be the ambitious breadwinner.

Dear Annie: My wife quit smoking a year ago. However, she has recently started buying and using nicotine gum.

I have not been able to summon the courage to talk to her about this and ask about her reasons. She is a professional who works hard in the medical industry. It scares me that she is using this chemical. Based on current information, do you think I have reason to worry? – Nervous Nick

Dear Nick: Maybe. Replacement nicotine gum is better for her health than smoking, but it’s not intended for long-term use, which has been associated with insulin resistance, severe allergic reactions and possible cardiovascular problems. If your wife is chewing the gum because she is having cigarette cravings and plans to use it temporarily, she should be OK. Please don’t be afraid to express your concerns to her.

Dear Annie: “Desperate in Pennsylvania” said she is experiencing an annoying click while swallowing. I suggest she consult with a hospital-based speech/language pathologist who specializes in swallowing disorders.

The therapist might suggest a swallowing study in conjunction with radiology to view the mechanics of the swallow and ultimately offer a few simple compensatory techniques involving head positioning that may minimize the clicking. A physician’s referral to get the ball rolling would be appropriate. — Retired SLP in Ft. Myers

Dear Ft. Myers: Thanks for your suggestion. Here are two more:

From Michigan: I urge “Desperate” to make an appointment with a neurologist as soon as possible. It’s possible she has something called “Arnold-Chiari I Malformation,” a rare condition where the brain is pushed into the spinal column, restricting spinal fluid flow. I know because my son has it. A neurologist can help.

Maryland: I recently experienced the same clicking in my throat, as well as in my ears. Under the care of an ENT, I suffered with these symptoms for nine months, all the while treating sinus infections and allergies. Finally other symptoms showed I had acid reflux, even though I never suffered from heartburn or typical reflux symptoms.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to

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