I am a 20-year-old woman who has been in a committed relationship with my boyfriend, "Ian," for three years. I attend a university out of the country, so our relationship is mostly long-distance. We are in love and have discussed a future after I graduate. Ian says I'm the reason he has goals and wants to live a meaningful life.
Every now and then he says he's afraid that he is holding me back - that because I'm so committed to him I am missing out on some of the most important experiences I could have at the university. I have told Ian I'm happy with what we have and wouldn't trade it. If I wasn't with him, I would probably see other men, but more sexual freedom wouldn't make me happier. All my single friends say they would rather have what I have.
Our relationship means far more to me than the odd fling would. Ian says he has no desire to be with other women, but he's afraid I don't know what I want because I haven't had experience with other men. How can I convince him that this is what I really want?
- Decisive in Scotland
DEAR DECISIVE: Tell your boyfriend that while some women may enjoy quantity, you have an eye for quality, and he is the grand prize you have waited for all your life. Then tell him you're a one-man woman, and he's stuck with you. (This should do the trick, unless he's projecting his own feelings of ambivalence onto you.)
DEAR ABBY: In May 2001, you printed my letter alerting former prisoners of war and their widows to the special veterans' benefits available to them from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The response was great; many former POWs and their dependents now have their VA benefits because of that column.
Now, as chairman of VA outreach for American Ex- Prisoners of War, I write to alert all veterans (not just former POWs) of a recent VA ruling.
On Sept. 23, 2008, Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, was made a presumptive condition for all veterans who served in our armed forces for at least 90 days.
This means that the widows of those vets who died of Lou Gehrig's disease in the past are eligible for the VA widows' monthly benefit, which is very substantial. Many people are not aware that a veteran's death due to this disease is now considered service-connected. One claim I handled recently involved an ALS death 46 years ago, in 1963.
Thank you for your help in getting the word out, Abby.
- Fred Campbell,
American Ex-Prisoners of War
DEAR FRED: I'm pleased to help you and America's veterans once again. Readers, Fred welcomes inquiries at 3312 Chatterton Drive, San Angelo, TX 76904. He can also be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEAR ABBY: I am 8 years old. My mom told me our neighbor's dog was old and sick, so he had to put his dog to sleep. I hate this. I know it is what is best for the dog, but I can't stop thinking about it. How can I get over this?
- Henry in Austin, Texas
DEAR HENRY: Your neighbor's dog was put on this earth to run and play and enjoy his doggy life. When an animal is no longer able to do that and spends his days and nights in pain, then the kind - but very difficult - thing for a pet guardian to do is to let him go. Being put to sleep was a gentle way to go, and when you think about your neighbor's dog, you should remind yourself of that. *