Dear Annie: My “Laura” is the light of my life. It’s been more than a year since we found each other, but my whole body still shakes with anticipation every time I see her. Recently, though, I can’t help but feel a growing tension between us. This is my first real romantic relationship, and I know that I have a lot to learn, but Laura can be so critical of me. Like, she tells me I use my tongue too much when we kiss. And the other night, when I was just trying to cuddle, she insisted I go sleep on the couch instead.
As soon as she gets back from work, I can’t stop talking to her. I find myself following her around the house. I know that she likes to have a second to unwind in silence. But I’m just so excited to see her that I always forget! The other day, she went so far as to hold my mouth shut. Then she said, “Honey, shut up.” It made me feel so small.
I don’t want to push my love away with my enthusiasm. But I also can’t help but be myself. Admittedly, I’m young and inexperienced. So maybe I’m too eager. But I just can’t hide the way that I feel. And I guess I’m afraid that Laura is turned off by my puppy love. Please, help me. What should I do? — Simply Smitten
Dear Simply: There’s love, and then there’s infatuation. Your letter speaks more to the latter. For true love to grow between you and Laura, you must give it the room and time to do so.
To help curb your obsessive thinking, I encourage you to attend therapy and read “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. Develop your hobbies; spend more time with your friends; find work that excites you. Investing energy in yourself will not only boost your self-esteem but also make you more attractive to your girlfriend — a win-win.
Dear Annie: I’ve been in a relationship for three years with “Maddy,” a wonderful woman who has only one child, “Joseph,” a 40-year-old who is a total mama’s boy (putting it lightly).
Joseph refuses to have anything to do with me. He has never once come to visit us at our home. Maddy goes to see him every year and usually stays a month. This year, she’s planning to stay six weeks. I’d love to go with her, but I’m not allowed because Joseph doesn’t want me in his house. So, I stay home each time. He shows me no respect or even interest. He doesn’t seem to care at all how either of us is doing, really. Maddy simply accepts his behavior and tells me to get over it because he’s her only child. I understand their connection, but I think she should think about me and my feelings, too. What should I do about this dilemma? I’m starting to think that maybe she should just stay with her son instead of me. — Unfortunate Boyfriend
Dear Unfortunate: If the relationship is going to work, she’ll need to meet your concerns with more than a, “Get over it.” Let her know, in a nonaccusatory tone, that it hurts when she doesn’t seem to take your feelings seriously. Make it clear that this is a major issue for you, without issuing ultimatums. Hopefully, she will work toward a compromise that shows she values your relationship. If nothing changes, then it might be time to move on.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.