Dear Annie: I’ve been dating “Hannah” for three months. It hasn’t been easy because my parents don’t approve of her, even as a friend, because she’s 19 and I’m 15.
Until now, we’ve been great together. We talked at least three times a day, hardly ever fought, and just had a great relationship. But my parents have tightened up and officially suspended me from seeing her. Mom refuses to back down. I told Hannah, and now she tells me she can’t handle the distance between us and thinks we should break up. It makes me so mad because just the other day she was talking about how much she was in love with me.
Am I tying her down? Should I break up with her so she can be free? I’m sure she misses being able to flirt with anyone she wants. A 15-year-old is probably holding her back, right? —Ball and Chain
Dear Ball and Chain: You sound pretty levelheaded for a 15-year-old, so we’ll be straight with you. Hannah needs to spread her wings a bit and, more importantly, so do you. She is probably your first significant girlfriend, but everyone should have the opportunity to do some comparison shopping before settling down.
At 19, Hannah is ready for things you shouldn’t have to think about for a few years, and it’s unfair to both of you to be in a serious relationship at this stage.
Dear Annie: My best friend, “Tammy,” is on a self-destructive path. She is bipolar, but rarely takes her medication, saying it makes her feel like a zombie. She often misses her doctors’ appointments. Tammy has battled with alcoholism throughout her life and has apparently given up any thought of staying sober. Many days she just stays in bed and drinks. Her apartment is a mess.
Tammy is a well-educated, extremely intelligent woman, and when she is sober and on her meds, she is a delight to be around. I want to remain her friend and help, but it is getting discouraging. Tammy has no family willing to step in, and if she thinks people are trying to boss her around, she becomes very angry. Any suggestions? — Confused Friend
Dear Confused: Suggest that Tammy talk to her doctor about changing or modifying her medication so she doesn’t feel like a zombie. Then please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) and ask if there is any way to help your friend.
Dear Annie: “Total Loss” said her wonderful valedictorian son has become addicted to video games and behaves irrationally. It sounds more like heroin to me. My son had an athletic scholarship to college, but instead, he dropped out of high school and got his GED. Why? Drugs! It started off with weed and moved to pills at parties and eventually heroin. All the behaviour she described could have been my son.
She should go online and check out the warning signs of heroin use. It is a very popular drug among high school and college students. It can happen to your child no matter what kind of family you have. It took getting caught by the police to make my son face his problem. Thank God he seems to have turned the corner, but it has been hard for all of us. Don’t ask your son if he is using drugs. He will just lie —they always do. — Voice of Experience
Dear Voice: Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes personality changes are the result of drug use and parents must keep a watchful eye.
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