Annie's Mailbox: Frustrated in South Dakota
Dear Annie: I've been with "Max" for nearly four years, and we recently moved in together. We got along great until Max became very needy and suspicious. He works days, and I work nights. If he calls home and I don't answer the phone, he flips out. He calls me at work at least three times a day, and gets me out of bed after I've had only a few hours of sleep, just so I can sit with him until he leaves for work.
I've tried to be patient, thinking maybe he's just a little too excited that we're living together and this whole thing will blow over, but things have gotten worse. Max is becoming a dictator. He leaves me a list of chores before he goes to work, expects to see me on his lunch break, and I must have dinner ready for him when he gets home. I rarely have the time to get all these "chores" accomplished and be at work myself. If I don't finish, he harps on me until I'm nearly in tears.
I've tried to talk to Max about this, and he's apologized and promised to change, but that never happens. I'm afraid if things don't straighten out soon, he might become violent.
I love Max very much, but he's very different from the Max I knew a few months ago. How do I get him to snap out of this? -- Frustrated in South Dakota
Dear S.D.: Get out, out, out! Max has all the earmarks of an abuser. At the very least, he is an angry, demanding, jealous, controlling man. He isn't "a little too excited" about living together. He was waiting for you to be under his thumb before showing his true personality. If you think he may become violent, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) and ask how to move out without endangering yourself.
Dear Annie: I'm a 17-year-old guy. In most of life, I am pretty happy. The only problem is my shyness, especially when it comes to women. I know that some girls have liked me, but for some reason, I cannot even force myself to talk to them. It really tears me up inside to think of the opportunities I've wasted.
Is there anything I can do to overcome my shyness and talk to girls, especially ones I like? Or should I accept the fact that I will be living the rest of my life exploding inside while my mouth says nothing? Is medication an option, or is it too drastic? I just want to have a social life. -- A Little Hopeless in Colorado
Dear Colorado: Only you know how crippling your shyness is. There has been some success treating social anxiety with behavioral therapy. Talk to your parents about getting a referral from your doctor, or check out the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (www.adaa.org) at 8730 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Dear Annie: I used to be a conversation interloper until I saw the letter from "Out of Patience," who complained that a new co-worker kept inserting herself into conversations whether it involved her or not. Here is the other side:
I recently started working at a very small company. The "new" people, myself included, are treated as outsiders. If one of us sits down at a lunch table, conversation comes to a stop. People go out together for lunch or after work, but no new people are included. We are forced to be part of every conversation because the office is very small and people talk loudly across their desks.
If "Out of Patience" feels the need to hold private conversations, she should wait until breaks, after work or until we leave the room. It took reading this in the paper to realize why my comments were not welcome. I hope "Out of Patience" will learn from this letter as I did from hers. -- Louise Please
Dear Louise: It's hard to be accepted when you're the new kid on the block. Let's hope your letter opens a few eyes. Thanks.
Dear Readers: We wish all our Muslim readers a Happy Eid.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.