The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

All’s fair in love and sports?

- — In Love but Unsure Send your questions for Annie Lane to

DEAR ANNIE >> One of my good female friends graduated from a rival college of mine.

We love talking smack about who has a better football team. When her school loses games, I gloat. One time this year, I said her school had zero chance of winning against my school. I did this level of trash-talking for two months, practicall­y daily.

She said that if I was so confident, then I should put it on the line. I told her to name the stakes. She said if my school lost one game in particular, starting Jan. 1, I would have to post a new picture of myself on social media in a thong every day for a year, holding a sign saying, “My school sucks.” Well, my school lost, and it was never close.

She texted me during the game talking smack. I said the bet was just a joke. She said it was not and that she could show our friends our text receipts. I’m worried what people will say if I start posting the kind of content we discussed. My friends from high school and college plus my coworkers would see it. Is there any way I can get out of this?

— Unfriendly Bet

DEAR UNFRIENDLY BET >> You and your friend can joke all you want about college sports, but long gone are the dorm days. You’re both adults with myriad responsibi­lities and obligation­s; posting the kind of pictures you described could lead to serious fallout at work and in your relationsh­ips, not to mention chip away at your dignity.

Give your friend a call and draw your line in the sand. Assure her that if the game had gone in your favor, there’s no way you would actually expect her to post these photos online, either. Perhaps a happy medium would be repping her team’s spirit wear instead of your alma mater’s in a single defeat post. Only do what you feel comfortabl­e with. If you find the situation can’t be sorted civilly, call it quits on all future bet-making with this friend — and maybe give some thought to whether or not she should be on your friend roster at all.

DEAR ANNIE >> I’m 54, and my boyfriend is 57. We’re in a long-distance relationsh­ip, 1,700 miles apart. It’s been going on for almost two years now. I’ve flown to see him three times, and he wants to plan another visit for May. At that point, it will have been almost seven months since our last visit.

He’s never flown to my state to visit me. I live on the East Coast, and he lives on the West Coast. His adult children live about eight hours from me. He’s planning a visit with them in February, but I’m not included in those plans. His mother lives with him on the West Coast, so when I visit him, we don’t get private time at his house because she’s there. I rarely call him because it seems like when I do, he has to take other calls, so I wait for him to call me. When I experiment with a new recipe and share it with him, I’m told how well his daughter cooks or how he or his mother would do it. I don’t feel like a priority in his life and like I’ll always be last in line to his two daughters and his mother. Am I overthinki­ng or overanalyz­ing things?

— Long-distance Lovers

DEAR LONG-DISTANCE >> If anything, I’d say you’re finally confrontin­g reality.

The truth of the matter is you’re playing second fiddle in this man’s life while you’ve made him the first chair in yours. After two years of dating, he’s not visited your home, integrated you into his close relationsh­ips or simply kept up regular, consistent communicat­ion. If a breakthrou­gh hasn’t happened yet, I doubt it ever will. There are far better options out there for you than this fella — and I’d reckon a lot closer to home.

DEAR ANNIE >> I have been with a man off and on for seven years. He is my best friend, and I can’t live without him. A few years ago, he stole my stimulus check of $1,200, and he brought other women home, claiming he was only doing business with them.

He doesn’t have a job. I’m paying all the bills by myself, and I’m struggling. I have my own apartment and my own car and a job. He has nothing. My friends and everyone are telling me he is using me. I don’t know what to believe. How do I know if he is true to me or not? He hides his cellphone. He has his family paying for all his needs. He is a 35-year-old man. Please give me advice or direction.

DEAR IN LOVE BUT UNSURE >> He stole your money, he refuses to work and he is unfaithful. You are 100% better off without him. Instead of focusing on your heartbreak in letting him go, think of how much you will gain. You will save money, you will protect your mental health and you will open yourself up to new partners who love and respect you. Break up with him — immediatel­y.

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