Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I are leaving soon to go to different colleges. Our universities are three hours away from each other. The thing is -- I am scared! I trust him, but he cannot communicate well. I know it sounds childish but when he takes a really long time to answer texts, I worry about how a long-distance relationship will work. Sometimes he takes hours to text me back, unless I end my text with a question mark. I love him and he loves me. We have talked about our future and I can see having a future with him, but what should I do? I do not want to be upset and I do not want to break up, but if he never listens to how serious I am when it comes to communication, do you think I should move on? Please help me.

College Girl

DEAR COLLEGE GIRL: If someone sent your boyfriend a text saying, "Hey, do you want to meet us at the batting cage; we're going to hit a few," would your boyfriend answer quickly, six hours later or not at all (because the text didn't end with a question mark)? If he is able to communicate differently but doesn't, then you should assume that he either doesn't want to or doesn't feel he needs to.

Going to college presents you with so many opportunities for growth. You can either spend your first semester trying to retrain your boyfriend (and then being upset when he can't or won't comply), or take a break from the daily pressure of this long-distance relationship and fully commit to college.

Take a text "fast": Don't initiate any contact for a few days. Consider putting your relationship "on hold" until Christmas break. Let me know how things turn out.

DEAR AMY: In my office an older executive (married) man is hitting on his pretty young assistant very hard. It is quite obvious. They talk for an hour each day and he is always at her desk or calling her while he is out of town. I feel bad for the younger woman. She seems to have low self-esteem. She's pretty naive. Should I step in and give her advice to watch out? I'm not sure if anything outside of work has happened, but it has become painful to see their interactions. When does it become the older man's responsibility not to put a young woman in uncomfortable situations, especially when it's a boss/employee relationship?

Wanting to Help

DEAR WANTING: No boss should hit on his/her employee. We all know this, and yet it happens. Quite frequently, in fact.

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Not only does this behavior put the employee -- and the boss -- at risk (many an ugly sexual-harassment lawsuit has started in this way), but witnessing and being aware of this behavior can be quite disruptive to the rest of the office -- as your question illustrates.

You should not offer this assistant too much unsolicited advice. You could say to her, "I notice the boss is giving you lots of attention. Are you cool with that? If not, you really should speak to HR." She should review your office's employee handbook for rules concerning this sort of interaction and the protocol for handling it. You also have a right to lodge a complaint if this behavior is overt, distracting and disruptive to your productivity, which -- given the level of your interest -- it is.

DEAR AMY: I'm responding to the letter from "Hurt," whose parents lavished monetary gifts on Hurt's sister, who had two children while Hurt had none. This is a very familiar issue for me -- my parents have done exactly the same thing. I believe you are correct in stating that Hurt is basically being penalized for not providing grandchildren.

Child-Free

DEAR CHILD-FREE: Grandparents may feel they are providing directly for grandchildren, and not see the inequity when they give to one sibling but not the other.