Annie's Mailbox: I think my boyfriend stopped loving me

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Dear Annie: I have been with “Sven” for two years, and we have been living together since August. He is good to me and my two kids, but I’m having a problem.

For starters, Sven has stopped telling me he loves me. Last night, when I told him I loved him, he responded that he “really likes me a lot.” Also, I am a full-time student, and he disagrees with my choice to become a paramedic. I cannot talk to him about school, as he says it bores him. If I ask him to go somewhere with me, he won’t.

He no longer visits my parents, which I can tolerate, but I said holidays should be an exception. He disagreed, saying his family doesn’t celebrate holidays, so last Christmas, my children and I went to my parents’ and then visited my brother for five days. The night before I left, I found out Sven was going to his brother’s house for Christmas and that it had been planned for more than a week. He lied to me about it and then quickly invited me to come with on Christmas morning. When I stopped at his brother’s on my way out of town, his sister-in-law accused me of being rude because I didn’t respond to her invitation — the one I didn’t know about.

Sven has no desire to change, and I am becoming miserable. I spent my entire savings to attend school, and Sven helps pay the bills. I don’t graduate for another year and cannot afford day care. Until this summer, our relationship was great. I don’t want to give up yet. What are my options?

— Anastasia

Dear Anastasia: Sven isn’t in love with you anymore, and you’d be a fool to pretend otherwise. We suggest you break it off and look for another roommate and a cheaper apartment. You also can get a loan, drop out of school until you accumulate enough money to finish or ask your family for help. Whatever you choose may not be the solution of your dreams, but your dreams don’t seem to be working out.

Dear Annie: My 26-year-old son has many good qualities — he’s smart, attractive, friendly and hardworking. What troubles me is that he doesn’t take care of his physical appearance. He goes for days without bathing, and his hair is often uncombed and unkempt.

He has many friends, but I am sure they (and his employer) wonder about his lack of hygiene. Pleas from his family don’t seem to help. He lives in another city so we don’t see him often, but I wish he would take better care of himself. Any suggestions?

— Worried Mother

Dear Worried: Since you see your son so infrequently, is it possible he saves the disheveled look for you, knowing you will accept him anyway? Has anyone asked him why he won’t bathe and how he thinks others respond to his appearance? He may not realize how noticeable it is, and how repugnant. Or he may be doing it deliberately to keep people at a distance. Lack of hygiene can also indicate depression or an underlying medical condition. If your son won’t listen to you on the subject, suggest he see his doctor. Otherwise, we hope one of his friends will set him straight.

Dear Annie: Like “Going Gray,” I, too, have naturally gray hair. I have never colored it. In fact, I started going gray when I was in my 20s.

Now that I’m 49, most people simply tell me how much they admire my hair. But if anyone says anything about the gray, I reply, “I am a natural beauty.”

— Sarasota, Fla.

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