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8:38 AM Tue, Sept. 18th

Dear Annie: Used to the lifestyle

Dear Annie: I’m not sure whether there is any advice you can give me, but here goes. I am a 23-year-old gay man. I have been living with my 56-year-old boyfriend, “Bob,” for the past four years.

I love Bob, but am no longer in love with him. I would like to move out, but don’t make very much money and can’t afford it. I can’t move back with either parent. My brother (who is in a real mess) lives with my mom, and my dad pretty much disowned me when I started seeing Bob.

I’ve grown accustomed to the lifestyle I have with Bob. We go out to dinner often and on many exotic cruises and vacations. I’m not ready to give those up. As I said, I love Bob but am not super happy. What should I do? — Spoiled

Dear Spoiled: It’s not fair to continue using this man as a meal ticket (and plane ticket and cruise ticket).

Everyone deserves to be with someone who really wants to be with him, and you’re denying Bob that opportunity. Breakups are rarely convenient, but people find ways to survive. See whether you can stay with a friend for a few weeks while you set aside enough money for renting your own room.

You’re 23 years old; you should be working toward financial independence, not setting yourself up for a lifetime of relying on others. Show respect for yourself, for Bob and for the good times you shared by ending things, pronto.

Dear Annie: I disagree with your advice to “Stuck in Santa Fe.” You said she and her boyfriend should put their plans on hold while they await news of an uncertain job transfer, which may come many months down the road.

The best advice anyone ever gave me as a young man was to assume that nothing will ever change. This is not to say you should ignore the future or never plan for change. It simply means you should not put your life on hold waiting for things that may never happen.

That Santa Fe couple should live in the present, look for that better apartment and continue planning their life together now. But at the same time, they should keep looking for that next opportunity and be prepared to manage that change when it actually arrives.

If they follow my advice and the boyfriend gets the job of his dreams, they may have to lose one month’s worth of rent. But even if that happens, they will at least have been in a better apartment and building their lives. And who knows? An even better opportunity may yet take them in another direction. So my advice: Always have plans for the future and work toward them, but live your life in the present. — Fatherly Advice

Dear Fatherly Advice: I hear you. When patience becomes indolence, it’s no longer a virtue. To plan for the future but live in the present is excellent advice, so I’m glad to be printing your letter.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. 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.