DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and have been in a relationship since I was 13 with the same person on and off. I have been with him since my parents divorced, so you might say he's been my crutch for a long time.
He makes it clear that without him I am an emotional mess. I spend every day isolated from friends and family, while he spends his time with his friends. (I'm not allowed to be with them.) If I'm out with a friend, it is a huge issue.
I love him and I don't want to break up, but it feels like I'm alone even when I'm with him. I'm sick of letting a man make me feel like he's my reason for being alive. I want better. I deserve better. I am so confused. Please help me. -- DESERVES BETTER IN NEW YORK
DEAR DESERVES BETTER: I am crossing my fingers and hoping that you are still living with one of your parents. If you have been living with this person, I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for you to make other arrangements.
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You acknowledge that he has been your "crutch." Well, unless someone is severely disabled -- which you are not -- crutches are meant to be temporary. Among the warning signs of an abuser is being controlling and preventing his victim from forming healthy relationships with other people. Another red flag is if the person chips away at his victim's self-esteem by saying she/he "can't survive without him."
That you want something better for yourself and know you deserve better is a sign that you still have some healthy self-esteem. So please act on it. End this relationship and don't look back.
DEAR ABBY: I am a postal worker. With wedding and graduation seasons fast approaching, please pass along some suggestions to your readers:
Before addressing envelopes, please make sure your address books are up to date. We do everything in our power to make sure all mail gets to where it is supposed to be, but you'd be shocked how often it's addressed to someone who moved many years ago -- or worse, is deceased.
Be sure to include the recipient's last name and try not to use nicknames. If the address is off by a little bit, a last name on the envelope is sometimes helpful. You might think everyone knows Uncle Bob as "Moose." But as carriers, unless we know the recipient personally, we only know his or her proper name.
And don't forget to include your return address on the envelope so if it can't be delivered, you'll know the recipient didn't receive it. That way, you won't think that "Aunt Ann" didn't want to attend or have her think she wasn't invited.
And last but not least, be sure to have proper postage on the envelope! Often, due to the size or thickness of an invitation, extra postage is needed. I hope this will help your readers. -- MICHIGAN MAIL CARRIER
DEAR MAIL CARRIER: So do I!
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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