Dear Abby: I realize that social media is a big part of today’s world, and I have no problem with someone using it to stay in contact with family and friends. But at what point is it deemed an addiction?
My significant other spends hours every day scrolling through his Facebook and Twitter pages. I have tried discussing it with him, but it becomes an argument. Now, I just sit in the same room with him, silent and waiting until it’s my turn for his attention. How can I get him to realize how isolated from him it makes me feel and that my presence doesn’t seem to be needed? Should I just accept that he’s an addict and move on? — Offline in Florida
Dear Offline: Something becomes an addiction when it causes a disruption in one’s life. Your significant other isn’t the first person to have been seduced by the internet. He may argue with you because he doesn’t realize the amount of time he spends glued to his screen.
Try this: Quietly clock the time he’s on FB and Twitter for one week. Afterward, ask him if he realizes how much time he is spending there. He may be shocked when you read him the number of hours. That’s the time to express how isolated and unneeded this has made you feel. He may be willing to install an app that signals when the time limit he has allotted himself is up.
Discuss making a “date” for the two of you to get out of the house as a couple on a regular basis — without devices — to take a walk, go to the park or have socially distanced coffee somewhere, which may interrupt his habit and enable you to enjoy some time together when you are both fully present. But if he isn’t interested, you may have to decide if you want to continue being his lady-in-waiting.
Dear Abby: Is it rude or disrespectful for someone to change their first name? I’m in my early 30s and have wanted to change mine my whole life. I changed the spelling of my name when I was 12, and my parents legally changed it for me when I was a teenager. But I still don’t like the name, and I cringe whenever I hear it.
Because it’s a common name for someone my age, I’m sure most people won’t understand if I change it. While I respect the effort my parents put into selecting a name for me, I don’t want to be stuck with this one for the rest of my life. I don’t want to cause hurt feelings. However, I’m ultimately the one who has to live with it.
Should I do what feels right for me, or must I accept the negative feelings and the disconnect I have toward the name to spare my family’s feelings? — Disconnected Out West
Dear Disconnected: Many people change their name(s) for various reasons. If you feel the need to do it in order to be a more authentic version of yourself, go for it. Assuming you have told your parents how you feel about your first name, I doubt they’ll be any more upset about it than they were when they helped you change its spelling as a teenager.
A word of caution, however. The process may take more time than you would like because the pandemic has slowed the court system considerably. Also, once you change your name, you will need to change it on all official identifying documents, such as your driver’s license, insurance documents, passport, etc., which can be time-consuming.