Dear Annie: I’m 15 and have the greatest boyfriend.
“Dane” is 17. He shows me so much respect and is so sweet. He loves me, I can tell. We practise safe sex. We just celebrated our half-year anniversary.
Sometimes, though, Dane is scary. When he’s angry, he punches walls and breaks things. But he’s never hurt me. He also can be really controlling. He says things like, “If you cheated on me, I’d kill the guy” and “I’d die without you.”
He is really clingy and jealous of my guy friends. But that works for me.
Right now, everything is great, but I understand that those are signs of a potentially abusive relationship. So I was wondering if I should get out now.
I really don’t want to break up, because I care about him. But I also don’t want to be hurt. What should I do? — Cautious and in Love
Dear Cautious: You are smart to be concerned. If Dane scares you, it is time to get out of the relationship. Punching walls can easily escalate into something else.
It shows Dane has difficulty restraining himself when he’s angry.
Threatening to kill other guys or himself is not only controlling, it is manipulative.
It is intended to make you feel special and at the same time responsible for his happiness. Please talk to your parents about this relationship, and find a safe way to extricate yourself before it’s too late.
Dear Annie: How do I politely decline the frequent birthday parties my siblings have for their children?
My kids are grown, but when they were young, I limited their parties to the grandparents because I didn’t want to impose on my siblings.
However, these same siblings have children of their own — some of them are twins and triplets — and it’s looking like they will each have annual birthday parties until they are 18 years old. I cannot afford all those gifts.
Can I do anything, or am I just a — Scrooge in Nebraska?
Dear Nebraska: Stop thinking of these parties as expensive gift-giving occasions, and think of them as a way to celebrate with your nieces and nephews. Give an inexpensive book as a present. Or offer to be the photographer.
These family occasions are opportunities to be a regular part of their lives. And if the point is solely to rake in the gifts, your siblings will soon stop inviting you.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Wisconsin,” whose husband died and her friends seem to have deserted her.
I was in her shoes seven years ago and would like to give her some advice.
My late husband was everyone’s friend, and we were involved in all sorts of activities. Everyone shows up for a funeral, but afterward, they get on with their lives.
With our family all scattered and no one close, I wound up feeling isolated, unwanted and forgotten. “Wisconsin” should not hibernate, feel guilty for being a survivor or go into a tailspin.
Instead, she should stay busy, exercise, go back to work, tell her friends what she needs (they can’t read her mind), find a compatible group of lady friends (they don’t have to be widows) and get involved. If her friends see her trying to cope, they will be more likely to assist.
Yes, there are many friends who may not reconnect because she is no longer part of a couple, but I guarantee she will find a core group with whom she is comfortable on her own.
Recovery from the death of a loved one cannot be measured in months. Sometimes, not even in years. — Winter in Florida
Dear Winter: Thank you for your words of wisdom. We received a great many responses to “Wisconsin” and will print more as space allows.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.