Dear Annie: I have been dating a wonderful woman and have been intending to ask her to marry me. We've made plans for the future together, but at present, I'm recovering from a horrible motorcycle accident. I won't be at 100 percent for a few months. I asked her whether that would be a problem, and she said no.
Well, it came to my attention that she has been sleeping around with three guys, one of whom is a nurse who cares for me. Needless to say, I was devastated — not only because I spent $13,000 on a ring and building a tiny home for us but because of the lies, deceit and unfaithfulness. I am an educated man with a successful business, and I know the smart thing to do would be to walk away. But I just can't let go — All Twisted in Vermont
Dear Twisted: You dodged a bullet, friend, and now you'd better stay clear of the line of fire. This woman cheated on you when you were down and out and needed love the most. You must be a sweet, forgiving person to describe her as "wonderful," and it was probably this sweetness that attracted her to you, like a shark to blood.
You need to get out of her range. End things, and then create as much distance as possible. Return or sell the ring, and use the cash for a vacation. Your heart needs a safe space to hide out and heal.
Dear Annie: This week at the mall when I went to try on clothes in two popular retail stores' women's dressing rooms, there were men in them.
In the first, a large middle-aged man sat alone on a chair inside the entranceway, talking on his phone. As I walked toward the dressing rooms, he sneered at me, so I left and looked for another dressing area.
At the next dressing area, there was a man blocking the entranceway while his girlfriend tried on clothes. She couldn't even try on a T-shirt without his evaluation. I tried to enter, but he'd step in ahead of me and go between his girlfriend's room and the two empty rooms, pretending to get a better view but intentionally blocking all entrances.
At the next store, a tall man blocked the rooms while his girlfriend tried on clothes, leaving her door open while she changed. He reluctantly stepped aside for me to go to the second room, with both of them making disgusted sounds toward me for interrupting their experience. Immediately, I could see him glancing over my door, so I grabbed my stuff and hurried out.
These days, these stores are so thinly staffed there's never anyone monitoring the dressing rooms. With the prices they charge, I should be able to disrobe in a women's dressing room without fear of assault, intimidation or exposure to men. What legal obligations do these stores have to provide a safe and private female area for disrobing? — Done Shopping
Dear Done: I have a feeling this was more of a venting session than an actual question, but here goes. According to my research, there are no legal requirements for clothing stores to provide dressing rooms; it's just in stores' best interest to have them. It would also be in their best interest to make sure ladies' dressing rooms aren't full of "sneering" men, so I'm a little incredulous that in a single afternoon, you could encounter three separate men in three separate dressing rooms who were out to ruin your day.
If someone is changing with the door open or if a man is alone in the women's dressing room and seems threatening to you, let a sales associate know. You say they're scarcer these days, but until the machines take over and everything is fully automated, there are live employees in the store somewhere, and they will help you.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected] To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.