Dear Abby: I am a lesbian, still in high school, who has not yet come out to any friends or family. I want them to know, but I'm afraid to tell them.
I'm pretty sure this is who I am, and I don't want them to dismiss my identity. I also don't want them to think of me differently -- I want to be the same person in their eyes as I was before I came out. They aren't homophobic to my knowledge, but I feel "stuck."
I have fairly bad social anxiety, so it's difficult for me to say anything. I'd be grateful for any advice you have.
– Hiding in Colorado
Dear Hiding: I suggest you first deal with your social anxiety (a counselor can help you with this) because it may make it easier for you to come out when you finally decide to do it. Until you are secure in yourself about who you are, I think you should wait to announce your sexual orientation to other people.
Dear Abby: I am totally frustrated. My wife has implemented alerts on our credit cards, bank accounts and debit card accounts to a point that I can't buy surprise gifts for her birthday, our anniversary, Valentine's Day, etc., without receiving a text from her almost immediately asking if I charged something to a specific store.
Do you think this is a control obsession, or is she just overly cautious? Every time I try to discuss this with her, she says she's trying to make sure we are not hacked, etc. I want to be able to buy her things and create the element of surprise.
I would love some financial privacy at special times. Other than this, I have nothing to hide. Do you have any advice to help me save my sanity on this one?
– Under Surveillance in North Carolina
Dear Under Surveillance: Yes, either get a credit card in your name only or put aside some cash to spend on surprise gifts for these special occasions.
Dear Abby: I met a man online who lives out of state. We seem to have a lot in common. I have relatives near his home and plan to move to that state in the future. He has two daughters, ages 22 and 24. The 24-year-old, who is married, just graduated from college. He flew back east to attend the graduation.
He has told me several times how much he likes my long hair. When he called me from back east, he said how happy he was that he got to brush his daughter's hair! I thought it was odd and mentioned it to a few friends – male and female -- who said they thought so, too. What's your opinion? I'm uncomfortable about what he did.
– Uneasy Out West
Dear Uneasy: I agree that it's unusual for a father to be brushing his adult daughter's hair. However, not knowing the man, I can't say for certain whether or not his affinity for your long hair is a fetish. Because you found his comment off-putting, discuss it with him in a nonconfrontational way to learn more before making any judgments.