Teen's free place to live comes with a painful cost
I am 19 and having an affair with a married man twice my age, but I am an unwilling participant. You see, I grew up with "Jasmine," and over the years her family has become mine. I was going through a rough time, and when her family offered me a place to stay, I accepted.
They treat me like one of their own, buy me presents -- even introduce me as a daughter. However, after my birthday party, Jasmine's father came into my bedroom and took advantage of me. I was scared and didn't say anything. Over the past few months, he has sneaked into my room several times to "talk" or rub my back. He always crosses the line, and I'm too afraid to tell him to stop.
I feel sick and guilty when I see Jasmine or her mother, and I'm hurt and ashamed when I see him. I feel betrayed and confused. I tell myself I do it "for a place to stay." Is there forgiveness for me? Please help. -- DISTRAUGHT IN THE NORTHWEST
It appears you ARE "doing it for a place to stay," and for your own well-being you need to make other living arrangements and get out of there. You have been betrayed, and your feelings are valid. You are not being treated like a daughter; you are being coerced by a man with no conscience or compassion. Of course there is forgiveness for you -- but first you have to forgive yourself. Leaving is the first step.
My boyfriend, "Ross," and I have been together for five years and have a 2-year-old child. We talk a lot about marriage and we're engaged -- kind of. Ross asked me and I said yes four years ago, but no one knows we're engaged. He bought me a ring and I have been wearing it. Nobody has questioned it.
I want to say something about our plans, but Ross says he's too nervous and is afraid my parents will be angry. I am 23 and unemployed. Ross is 24 and has had bad luck with a bunch of jobs. Our 2-year-old and I live with my parents. Ross is currently staying with his grandparents.
I don't want a big wedding and I'm afraid my parents will be mad if Ross and I start planning ours. How can we break the news to them? -- TIMID IN STOCKTON, CALIF.
If your boyfriend is too nervous to tell anyone about the engagement, face it -- you're kind of NOT engaged. If I were you, I'd hold off making any announcements to your folks until you have the answers ready to some questions first, like where you and Ross plan to live after the wedding. With your parents? His grandparents? Who do you expect will be paying for the wedding you're planning?
"Everyone" may have ignored the significance of the ring you're wearing because neither of you is ready for marriage.
When buying a gift for someone and it arrives with a mail-in rebate, what do you do? If you give the person the rebate, he or she will know how much you paid for the gift. If you remove the UPC code, it looks like you regifted. How should this be handled? -- HAVEN'T A CLUE IN EAST HARTFORD, CONN.
DEAR HAVEN'T A CLUE:
Many people regift, and as long as the item is well-chosen for the recipient and is in mint condition, there's nothing wrong with the practice. How much was paid for the item is beside the point. When a gift is given, the price tag is removed. Because the mail-in rebate would be a tip-off, it should be removed, too.
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