DEAR ABBY: I’m a 19-year-old woman in college who still lives with my parents. I found out something several weeks ago that’s bothering me, and I need advice badly.
Years ago, after a robbery, my parents installed security cameras outside our house. I knew about them because they were visible. But apparently some were installed that I knew nothing about.
I have done things while alone to help control certain feelings, and I have also walked around without much on when my parents were away and never thought anything about it. Ever since I found out, I have been freaking out.
I don’t want to make a big deal about it because I’m afraid if my parents didn’t look at anything before, then they will now. I want to know if they have seen what I was doing. Part of me says to ignore this because they’re family — so who cares. My parents have never said anything about seeing me.
We’re Catholics, and I have heard the lecture about avoiding self-gratification ever since I can remember. I’m very careful about what I do now, but I am still bothered. Should I just forget and move on, or should I ask? — POSSIBLY PARANOID
DEAR POSSIBLY PARANOID: If your parents had been viewing the security footage and felt you were doing something wrong, you would have heard about it from them by now. What you need to know is that masturbation is normal. It is not depraved, a crime or harmful to your health. ALL normal boys and girls (and some adults, too) practice this natural type of sexual gratification. (If it makes you feel guilty because you have been told it’s “wrong,” then stop doing it.) Now, forget about it and move on.
DEAR ABBY: I am a gay male and my boyfriend of three years just confessed to me that he’s been cheating on me for the better part of our relationship. We went to counseling in an attempt to repair the damage that was done, and to see if I could regain any of the trust that I once had in him. During our counseling session he told me that he was sleeping with his stepbrother. I had forgiven him prior to this disclosure and thought I could move past it, but I’m no longer sure I can.
Before he told me about the cheating, I had bought an engagement ring for him and was nearly finished paying for it. Now I am unsure if I want to pay it off because I am so appalled about what has transpired. On the other hand, I’m afraid it will affect my credit history if I don’t. What would you do if you were in my position? — CAN’T MOVE PAST IT
DEAR CAN’T MOVE PAST IT: A partner who would cheat on you for that length of time has a character deficiency and will probably do it again. If I were in your position, I’d end the relationship, finish paying for the ring and then cut my losses by selling it. That way, all of the payments you have made won’t go down the tubes, and your credit rating will be intact.
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.