DEAR ABBY: I'm 19 and currently dating a guy I can't stand. I don't know what to do. He's leaving next year and my friends tell me I should just bear with it until then. I don't know if I can.
He doesn't respect my opinions, makes fun of my taste in music and literature and is basically a know-it-all. Religion is also an issue: He's an atheist and I'm a Christian. I don't feel comfortable being serious with someone who has no qualms about calling my beliefs "b.s." to my face as well as behind my back. I also don't feel comfortable with premarital sex, but he's sure he can change my mind. He constantly reminds me how "patient" he can be about it.
Abby, it's such a mess. I feel like hiding in my room and not answering the phone.
— DESPERATE IN TUCSON
DEAR DESPERATE: It's time to stand up for yourself. Do not hide or avoid picking up the phone. The next time that egotistical creep — and that's what he is — calls, say, "It's over!" If he asks why, tell him you're not interested in having anything to do with anyone who belittles you and calls your religious beliefs "b.s.," and regardless of how "patient" he is, you will never sleep with him. Do not talk to him after that. Screen your calls, and if he asks to see you "just one more time," avoid him.
DEAR ABBY: All of my boyfriend "Alex's" close friends have been in jail or in rehab. I know they're good people who made some poor choices, but I don't like associating with them or inviting them to events with my friends and family.
Alex understands why they're not invited and hangs out with them on his own time, and I understand that he's loyal to his friends.
Alex has a good job. He comes from a good family and makes good decisions in life. None of his friends can say the same. I realize my boyfriend is different from them, but I'm concerned about why he continues associating with them. Can you help me understand?
— CHOOSY IN SAN JOSE
DEAR CHOOSY: Your boyfriend associates with them because he is comfortable with them, and I don't blame you for being concerned. Granted, Alex comes from a good family, has a good job and makes "good decisions in life." But I'd be worried, too, if my boyfriend surrounded himself only with people who have had serious problems. It could indicate that although Alex has everything going for him, he may not feel good about himself.
DEAR ABBY: I recently baby-sat with my 4-year-old grandson for almost a week. During that time I noticed he was using the word "ain't." My daughter, a college graduate, lives about an hour away in a more rural area. She became very defensive when I mentioned it, and told me it is accepted in the South and he will continue to use that word.
I am concerned about the limiting effect I feel this may have on my grandson's future life and opportunities. What are your thoughts on this issue, and how should I behave?
— GRAMMAR GRANDMA IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR GRANDMA: Parents who fail to teach their children proper grammar are doing their children no favor. Obviously, your grandson is mimicking the kind of speech he's hearing around him — and probably at home.
How should you behave? Continue to model proper English grammar when he's with you, encourage him to use it and remind him when he forgets.
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.