D EAR ABBY: Im 15 and my brother is 19. He still lives at home and recently acquired a water cooler the kind you see in doctors offices. He has it sitting in the dining room and, frankly, I hate it! Its unsightly and unnecessary.
By JEANNE PHILLIPS
My parents allow it to stay there. They have never cared much about how their house looks. I do most of the cleaning. Is there any way I can convince them to remove the water cooler? Its not the kind you see in home magazines. Wants a Normal House
DEAR WANTS A NORMAL HOUSE: Ideally, a water cooler would be placed in a kitchen. However, if there isnt room for it in your parents kitchen, and meals are shared in the dining room, thats the logical place for it. I cant see why the water cooler would embarrass you. Most peoples homes dont resemble the layouts you see in magazines. They are an ideal folks aim for until reality compels them to organize their living space in a way that conforms to their needs and budgets, rather than their desires.
Dating nail biter
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend for three years. We get along well, but he has the most annoying habit of gnawing his fingernails. It is constant, and he hardly has any left. I find it repulsive and embarrassing when were out in public.
I have asked him repeatedly to stop. He says he has done it all his life and I should stop nagging. If it were the other way around and I knew something I did bothered him, Id try my best not to do it because I loved him. I know most people have habits, and this is more of an addiction. What can I say to make him stop? Biting Off Too Much in S. Carolina
DEAR BITING: Nail-biting is typically related to stress and anxiety. There are ways to stop, and he should talk about it with his doctor. Beyond suggesting that he make an appointment, nothing you can say will make your boyfriend change his behavior. Because you find the habit repulsive and embarrassing, the question its time to ask yourself is whether its a deal-breaker, and no one can answer that but you.
Not ready to settle down
DEAR ABBY: I am 20 years old and have been in a relationship since I was 15. I never had a childhood. At 14 I became an adult and never got to experience any teenage freedom. I realize now that Im not ready to settle down with anyone, but I know he is. I am unhappy, but Im afraid of hurting him.
I am the type of person who would hurt myself before I hurt anyone else. I think Im ready to experience life as a separate individual, but I dont know how to tell him. He always said this would happen, but I denied it. Now I realize he was right. I dont know how to start the conversation. Please help me. Not Ready to Settle Down
DEAR NOT READY: You are the type of person who would hurt yourself before you hurt anyone else? While that is altruistic to the max, it is a dangerous way to live your life. In a case like this, better HE should cry for a short time than YOU should cry for the next decade or so.
A way to start the conversation would be to say: We need to talk, and I need to be honest with you. You were right when you said this wouldnt last and I was immature and inexperienced when I said you were wrong.
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