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Dear Annie: She may be ready to move on

Dear Annie: I read your column almost every morning, and I’d love to hear your advice on my situation. I am 20 years old. I’ll be turning 21 this December. (Yippee!) My first real boyfriend and I have been off and on the past six years. Even at our young age, we used drugs, but both have succeeded in our battle against the addiction.

I love my boyfriend very much but sometimes he can be off-putting. He can often get loud and yell and get mad very quickly. Though it’s been many years since it happened, he often brings up the time I cheated on him not long after we first got together. I have admitted my wrongs, but he never just understands how much I just want to move past that and be happy together.

I feel like now we are just together to be together. We’re used to each other’s presence no matter how bad things are between us.

I get along great with his family. They’re like the family I’ve never had. His mother is just like me, and they include me in everything; they love me and tell me it all the time.

I sometimes feel like my boyfriend and I were meant to be — but then I also think about whether I might be happier alone. I’m so confused. Please help ASAP! — Stuck and Confused

Dear Stuck and Confused: Let’s try a thought experiment: Close your eyes and imagine yourself 10 years from now still with the same man — what your life is like together, and, most importantly, how it makes you feel. Then imagine your life 10 years from now having started a new life without him today. Which scenario leaves you feeling lighter and more excited? From your letter, I have a hunch it’s the latter. You are ready for the next chapter of your life, but it can be scary turning the page. However, I am so excited for you to find out what your story holds once you do.

Be prepared. The breakup will likely be painful and messy. I recommend reading “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie for some further guidance on setting boundaries that will help you stay healthy.

Keep in mind that it’s normal to mourn a relationship after it ends: It doesn’t mean that you’re wrong to end it.

Remember just how strong you are: You overcame drug addiction at an incredibly young age, and you will overcome this, too.

Dear Annie: This is an open letter to a woman who commented as I left a designated handicapped bathroom stall: Thank you for your snarky comment that I certainly don’t “look disabled.” Due to orthopedic impairments that are not visible to your discerning eye (two sort of successful hip replacements and a blown Achilles tendon), I am unable to rise from a sitting position without a grab bar or other support — and a toilet paper holder does NOT do it. I owe you no explanation, nor do I merit special attention from other women in that restroom. Please remember that not everyone who has a disabled driver hang tag/plate or uses a designated stall has an obvious impairment, and it is not your place to question that need. I wish you a long healthy life unchallenged by age, arthritis or other impairments. In the meantime, I wish you a bit of common courtesy. — Florida Woman

Dear Florida Woman: Hear, hear. I appreciate this reminder that not all disabilities are obvious. Thanks for writing.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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