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Dear Annie: Um, excuse me

Dear Annie: I’m a woman in my mid-20s. About a month ago, I started seeing “Vern.” He was my first date through an online dating site, so I was nervous and then pleasantly surprised when he turned out to be charming, sincere, witty and just as good-looking in person. We share a lot of the same interests and even, it turns out, have some mutual acquaintances.

The issue I’m writing about also started on our first date. Vern and I were enjoying a nice stroll on our city’s riverwalk after dinner, when all of a sudden, he belched. One time and I wouldn’t have even thought anything of it, but a few minutes later, it happened again. For the rest of the night, he was belching once every five minutes. He didn’t say “excuse me” but just continued to talk as if nothing had happened.

We’ve been on a few dates since, and this has happened a few more times but not every time. How do I bring this up? Or do I even bring it up? I’m not trying to let this ruin a potentially great relationship, but still, I have to be honest: It grosses me out. — Unexcused

Dear Unexcused: If Vern’s been an otherwise polite person, I’m guessing he didn’t say “excuse me” because it’s become so commonplace he hardly notices it or because he was praying you didn’t. There’s most likely an underlying medical reason for the excessive belching. He may have acid reflux or stomach ulcers. Encourage him to talk to his doctor, more for his benefit than yours. Chronic acid exposure in the esophagus can cause serious health problems down the line.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.