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My stepfather is a man-child

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Eli”, and I bought a beautiful white Labrador puppy, “Sasha”, two years ago. I live with him and my future father-in-law, “Harry”, in his father’s house. Eli’s father is basically a man-child. Harry feeds Sasha the table scraps, and even though we asked him to stop, he doesn’t. He laughs and says the food will not hurt her. I think it’s very disrespectful.

The extra food causes Sasha to gain weight. We’re worried about his health, but Harry doesn’t care. We don’t have enough money to move yet. Harry is often home during the day when my boyfriend and I are working. We pay all of Sasha’s vet and food bills. I don’t know what to do about it. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. — PET PROJECT IN NEW YORK

DEAR PET PROJECT: If possible, start asking your friends or relatives if they would be okay with Sasha staying with them during the day while you and Eli work. Obesity isn’t healthy for dogs or humans, and whatever Harry’s motivation, he shouldn’t force-feed your pup after you tell him not to.

DEAR ABBY: I am in a relationship with a younger person. I’m 17 and he’s 15. When I first met him, I was told he was a junior. We were close friends and have been through so much together, good and bad, and have now been in a relationship for six months.

We don’t have bad intentions because we wait for marriage before having sex. I struggled with depression and anxiety, but he makes me happier than ever. This is the man I asked God for. He treats me like a princess. I have no doubt that he could be The One.

The problem is that her parents don’t like the age difference. This is not a problem for my parents because their age gap is the same. They are also very strict and will only agree if his parents agree. His parents have a bigger age gap but are still uncertain about us. What I don’t understand is why I can’t be happy with him without our parents thinking we’re going to have sex without thinking about the consequences.

When we are together, we forget the age difference. How do we get our parents to understand? Should we break up for the sake of our parents when I could sink into another depression? I don’t want to go back to where I was. I can’t lose it. Please help me. — HAPPY GIRL NOW

DEAR DAUGHTER: You don’t have to lose this boyfriend, but you may have to postpone it. In the meantime, it’s important that you get help for your depression and anxiety, because it’s unfair to your boyfriend to make your happiness his responsibility. Your happiness should not depend on another person.

If your parents aren’t aware of your mental health issues, talk to them so they can help you get professional help if needed. If they can’t, talk to a counselor at your school.

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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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