DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman who has always had a hard time letting people down or saying no. A few months ago, I met a man online who lived across the country, and within a week he was telling me he loved me. I’ll admit now that I have some emotional and relationship problems because of my past, and I enjoyed hearing it. In fact, I embraced it and told him I loved him in return. Now that I look at it, I realize I was only in love with the idea of being in love.
We had several problems in the first few days, but we worked them out. Two weeks after he first told me he loved me, he proposed. We had never even met. Being the person I am, I said yes. He told me he was going to buy plane tickets for me, as soon as he could find a place to live. (He was living with his parents.)
I called him later that night to tell him I was deeply sorry, but I could not accept his proposal nor move to be with him. He became irate and told me he had already bought the tickets, and unless I was on that plane he would sue me for the money he’d spent. I feel horrible about it, but he has shown me no proof that he bought them.
Now he’s threatening to send some indecent pictures that he somehow managed to get from a past lover of mine to all my family and friends. I’m grateful to have gotten out of this relationship before I made a serious mistake and actually got on that plane. Can he sue me, and how should I deal with his threats about the pictures? – NOT IN LOVE IN THE USA
DEAR NOT IN LOVE: Your online suitor appears to be both vindictive and an extortionist. Neither is a desirable quality in a mate. Ignore his threats about posting the pictures. You are lucky that your common sense kicked in before things went any further. Can he sue you? If he bought the tickets, he might be able to take you to small claims court.
However, the larger lesson here has to do with the revealing photographs of you that wound up on the Internet in the first place. Let this be a warning to others: The danger in posing for x-rated pictures is that in the cold light of day, they can be a huge embarrassment.
DEAR ABBY: I am 24 years old and have been married five years. My husband, “Richie,” and I have known each other for about 15 years. I loved him as a friend, but the older we got, the more his mother pushed us together.
When we married I thought it was a joke. We got in the car to go somewhere, and when I asked where we were going they said to get married. Well, it was not a joke. Neither my mother nor my father was there.
Richie and I fight all the time, and I have reached the point that I don’t even want to talk to him. I can’t stand him. I have told him I want a divorce, and he tells me he will kill himself. I would hate myself if he did that. We have a 5-month-old baby. I don’t want to hurt Richie, but I can’t stand to be with him. What should I do? – SICK AND TIRED IN INDIANA
DEAR SICK AND TIRED: Go home to your parents. It’s time you and Richie took a break from each other. While you are there, discuss this with a lawyer. If you married Richie because of coercion or trickery, it’s possible your marriage could be annulled. I wish you had written me sooner, because then there might not have been a child involved.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)