BUYING TIME

Dear Short Answers: I am dating two guys at the same time. At first, it was just for fun; nothing serious. But lately, they've both been hinting to ward wanting something more. And I have been feeling the same way about both of them.

They're both equally sweet, charming, and handsome. But they both appeal to different sides of me (one is more athletic/sporty, the other is more artsy/chill). How do I choose? And how do I let the other one down easy?

Double Trouble

Dear Double: You don't have to choose now just because they want you to. Tell them you are not quite ready for an exclusive relationship. Tell each of them the truth -- and why you value him. Should work for awhile. 'I WANT TO BE ALONE'

Dear Short Answers: I have a neighbor who has really started to invade my privacy. Recently, he said he'd like to start going to the gym with me. I want to be on good terms, but I'm not interested in this. I'd also like more privacy whenever I'm outside, just going to and from my car. This is a tricky situation. How do I avoid causing a problem?

Not that Social

Dear Not: Tell your neighbor in the nicest possible way that you would like a bit more "space." Explain that it isn't personal but you are not the buddy type. When in transit, wave and keep walking.

IT'S CALLED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Dear Short Answers: My boyfriend of only a few months seemed like a dream. He bought me a diamond ring and said he wanted to marry me. He adored my makeup-less face and even began to plan a family with me (I am currently pregnant with his child). He told me I was his dream girl and that I was literally everything he wanted and needed.

Over the months, though, he showed me a different version of himself. He began to pluck, punch or smack me when I irritated him. He would text me nasty things and told me I was worthless. He would have attitudes and mood swings.

I'd gone through his phone and realized he was sending pictures of his junk to other women. He would belittle me in front of my family.

Long story short, after all the physical and emotional pain he caused me, my family had him beaten up on the porch of his home. I wanted him to feel the hurt he had inflicted upon me so many times before. I literally just want to know if he gets the point now. Will he leave me alone permanently or continue to call, text or bother me?

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up: We are frankly appalled by both of you! Stay away from each other before this becomes a police issue.

Life is complicated. Short Answers isn't.

Send your questions anonymously on our website (www. shortanswers.net) or email them to theeagle@shortanswers.net. Jeff Johnson has worked as a psychologist for New York State, New York City and the federal government as well as teaching at the graduate level. He is a Williams College alumnus and lives in Pownal, Vt. Paula Forman has worked as a professional "trend spotter" with high-profile clients such as Procter & Gamble. More recently, she taught sociology in the New York City university system. She lives and writes in Hudson, N.Y.