Annie’s Mailbox for Jan. 13, 2011: Am I being strung along? |

Annie’s Mailbox for Jan. 13, 2011: Am I being strung along?

Dear Annie: I was in a nine-year relationship with “Louisa.” We were engaged for three years before we moved in together. Once we were living in the same house, however, we couldn’t tolerate each other. We didn’t touch, kiss or have sex.

I fell in love with “Brenda” and had a torrid love affair. I didn’t get caught cheating, but I ended things because I knew it was wrong. After Louisa and I finally broke up, I reconnected with Brenda, but she was still hurt and unsure about me. She moved on with someone else. However, Brenda keeps telling me that she loves me and needs time to sort things out.

Is she just stringing me along? She was having sex with me, and then the other guy found out. I told her she had to choose, and she chose him. But she continues to want me in her life. Am I being used? What should I do?

— Lost in Pennsylvania

Dear Pennsylvania: Brenda has clearly chosen another man, but won’t let you go because she doesn’t want you to find happiness with someone else. You are her back-up plan. She is being selfish and possessive and will continue to tie you to her as long as you permit it. Sorry to say, this relationship has run its course. Move on.

Dear Annie: I’m a college student in a small town. I get good grades, have a terrific job and plan to attend graduate school. I still live with my dad, as it would be nearly impossible to make ends meet living on my own. Dad is glad to have me at home, and he provides everything I need as long as I continue to study hard. I am so grateful for his dedication to my well-being.

The problem is, I’m beginning to feel restless. I have lived in the same town all my life. I have big goals and no intention of forgetting them, but I’d like to experience more than this. I would like to take a few months off when I get my bachelor’s degree and go somewhere else. But I worry that Dad would question whether I was making a wise decision. How can I convince him that it would be good for me? And what are some options? Where should a young woman go to gain a little life experience and have some fun before diving back into school?

— Confused and Restless

Dear Confused: It is not unusual to want to take a break from your schooling. Many college students travel in order to broaden their life experience. Those with limited means can often find summer jobs to cover their basic expenses. Other students do volunteer work in an exotic locale. For you, it is probably best to work within an established group, and you can check out organizations online. We recommend Habitat for Humanity (, which helps build homes all over the world for those in need. You’ll be gaining experience while doing good.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Losing it in Canada,” who asked how to teach her children to chew with their mouths closed. Her dilemma reminded me of a suggestion I read in a magazine when my tykes were younger. It was a game called “Pass the Piggy,” and it worked nicely as motivation.

Whoever let his or her manners lapse was passed a small plastic piggy, which would sit in front of their plate until the next infraction. The offender who was holding the piggy at the end of the meal was stuck with dish duty. For younger children, the consequences may need adjustment, but this game worked wonders for our family.

— Jacksonville, Fla.

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