Ask Amy

Dear Amy: I have been baby-sit­ting for “Matt’s” two grade-school chil­dren for two years, since his wife died. He is 32. My re­la­tion­ship with Matt turned sex­ual on my 18th birth­day and we sleep

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - by Amy Dick­in­son

to­gether now at least three or four times a week. We agree that we are do­ing this just for fun and don’t have any long-term plans to be to­gether.

I will start col­lege sev­eral states away next year. I worry about be­ing away. I know I will miss the phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship. I am afraid of be­com­ing the cam­pus slut, look­ing for a guy to have a sex with.

I don’t dare talk to my mother about this be­cause she freaks out about any­thing that might in­ter­fere with me hav­ing a “ca­reer.” I’m still hold­ing down a 4.0 GPA, but I am dis­tracted by this re­la­tion­ship. I missed a sports prac­tice last week in or­der to be with him.

How can I make the tran­si­tion to col­lege?

My best friend thinks it is creepy that I hook up with some­one this old. She says that when col­lege starts I should try to for­get him and en­joy the guys on cam­pus. Should I try Match.com? — Perplexed

Dear Perplexed: I don’t think most col­lege stu­dents use Match to find one another. There are other apps and sites that might be more suited to your age group. There are also mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to find peo­ple in real life.

I have a vis­ceral neg­a­tive re­ac­tion to your choices (and his), but at 18 you are legally an adult and you are free to be sex­ual in any way you want. You are en­sconced in this cur­rent sex­ual re­la­tion­ship, but one thing you’ll see as you ma­ture is that you will be able to tol­er­ate sep­a­ra­tion bet­ter sim­ply by try­ing it. It does get eas­ier.

If you don’t want to be a “slut” in col­lege, then don’t be. There is a dou­ble stan­dard re­gard­ing how men and women are branded based on how they be­have, but any­one (male or fe­male) can be char­ac­ter­ized this way by be­ing needy and pro­mis­cu­ous. You need to be in­ten­tional, safe, re­spect­ful and as ra­tio­nal as pos­si­ble re­gard­ing your sex­ual life.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, “Nearly half of the 20 mil­lion new sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases (STDs) di­ag­nosed each year are among young

peo­ple aged 15 to 24 years. Women can have long-term ef­fects of these dis­eases, in­clud­ing pelvic in­flam­ma­tory dis­ease, in­fer­til­ity, tubal scar­ring, ec­topic preg­nancy and chronic pelvic pain.”

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I are 70. We have been to­gether for two-and-a-half years. He has had zero real re­la­tion­ships. I have been mar­ried and di­vorced (30 years) and mar­ried and wid­owed (10 years).

We have so much fun to­gether — we laugh, sing, travel. I love him and care about him, and am even sex­u­ally at­tracted to him.

He has pe­ri­od­i­cally ad­mit­ted he doesn’t love me, but cares about me. He has al­ways been kind and thought­ful. He’s also ad­mit­ted he’s not sex­u­ally at­tracted to me, although we’ve done a lot of se­ri­ous snug­gling.

I trea­sure our fun to­gether, but I’m left with hurt feel­ings. Should I try to get over my hurt and just en­joy the fun we have to­gether?

I am very grate­ful for our kind of late-in-life ro­mance. — Grate­ful but Frus­trated

Dear Grate­ful: Your ques­tion car­ries the im­pli­ca­tion that you may need to set­tle for less than what you want in a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship be­cause you are older. This may be true (I know it’s tough out there), but the ba­sic rule of re­la­tion­ships ap­plies at any age: You get what you will set­tle for.

It sounds as if you two have a fun and ac­tive friend­ship. He has been very hon­est with you about what this en­tails — for him. As long as you see him as a po­ten­tial part­ner, ver­sus a friend, you will be dis­ap­pointed. I hope you will be open to meet­ing and dat­ing other peo­ple.

Dear Amy: The ques­tion from “What to Do” in­volved a young fam­ily mem­ber who wanted to bring a dog on a fam­ily visit.

There are an in­creas­ing num­ber of op­tions for peo­ple do­ing this, in­clud­ing find­ing lo­cals who would be will­ing to tem­po­rar­ily “foster” a dog. — Dog Lover Dear Dog Lover: I like this idea.

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