Dear Annie: I'm 18 years old and live with my boyfriend, "Ted." I moved into his apartment after my high-school graduation, and have been with him and his young daughter ever since. Our relationship is good, but I want to move out.
I tried attending college classes last semester, but it was too taxing, mentally and physically. I don't feel ready to take care of an apartment, keep up a full-time relationship, play mother to a young child and go to college, even part time. I told Ted I would be moving into a dorm room over the summer. He exploded into a rage, insisting I didn't love him and that I was "giving up" on our relationship.
Am I abandoning him as he claims? The dorm rooms are less than 10 minutes away, and I can see Ted often. I love him dearly and don't want to end it, but must I live with him in order for us to stay together? Unwed Housewife in Colorado
Dear Housewife: You are a convenient baby-sitter and housekeeper for Ted, and naturally, he doesn't want to give that up. If he truly loves you, however, he will want what is best for you -- and that means getting a college education.
You are too young to be saddled with all this responsibility, and it is obvious you are becoming resentful. Move out as soon as possible, and don't let Ted pressure you into returning. If you have developed a close relationship with his daughter, explain to her why you are leaving, and make an effort to call and see her when you can. As for Ted, he sounds a bit controlling. Are you sure you want him?
Dear Annie: How do you tell someone the reason you do not visit is because you cannot stand the smell or the dirtiness of their house? My sister is in her 30s, lives with her boyfriend, and they have no children. There is no reason they cannot keep a clean home. The dishes are always on the counter, the cat litter box (always full) is in the kitchen for the world to see, and the garbage stinks.
Whenever we've had a family dinner there, I have endured it, but it's hard. My son is getting married in two months, and I am too embarrassed to bring my new daughter-in-law into that dump. I suggested having future holiday dinners at a restaurant, but my sister flatly refuses. What can I do? Sis in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Dear N.C.: She's your sister. Tell her the truth. Say, "Sis, I love you dearly, but I am extremely uncomfortable in your home. Seeing the litter box in the kitchen makes my stomach turn, and I'm sure you have no idea how the odor from the garbage permeates the house. Can we please have the next family dinner at my place or in a restaurant?" She isn't going to be too happy to hear it, but you can't continue avoiding her and holding your nose. Might as well get it over with.
Dear Annie: Last year, a family member died, and I took it very hard. A friend suggested I take an antidepressant, and my doctor prescribed one on a short-term basis. While researching the medication, I discovered that the symptoms of depression perfectly described my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, husband and daughter. I also learned that some forms of depression can be hereditary.
When I told my husband, he spoke to his doctor about an antidepressant. What a difference it has made! He seldom has mood swings, his paranoia is gone, and he is much happier.
My husband told everyone in his family that he wished he'd been on medication years ago. Please urge your readers who are depressed, or whose family members may be depressed, to consider talking to their doctor about antidepressants. His Loving Wife
Dear Loving Wife: We've already said it, but we appreciate the confirmation.
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