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Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar


Alcoholic Chef Can't Stir Up a Job Dear Annie: My youngest son is 34 years old and lives with my wife and me. He is an alcoholic and is unemployed, with no interest in getting a job. He helps at home by doing the cooking. He is a great cook by trade. He was laid off as head cook at a …Read more. Toxic Home or Sullen Teens? Dear Annie: I am very concerned about my brother's daughters, ages 18 and 20. My brother and his wife divorced when the girls were young. He and his ex do not get along and communicate poorly. She often berates him, and he remains silent. Their …Read more. Hands Off the Snappy (or Strappy) Dressers Dear Annie: I am a male, over 60, gray, balding and noticeably overweight. Because of back problems, I choose to wear suspenders instead of a belt. So, why is it that women of all ages think it's OK to snap my suspenders, or at least express a …Read more. A Crossdresser's Query Dear Annie: I'm a 24-year-old male who has been crossdressing since the age of 8. It started with collecting my own bras and panties, and now I have an entire wardrobe of women's clothing. Because I currently live on my own, I change out of my male …Read more.
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Annie's Mailbox®, April 4


Dear Annie: My husband and his ex shared custody of their son, "Danny," for 11 years. Two years ago, when his ex and her new husband began experiencing financial problems, she started pressuring Danny to live with her full time. It was no stretch to see that she wanted a big increase in child support.

Danny's mother manipulated him into believing that living with her would translate into some significant monetary rewards for him. Danny lied to the family court judge so his mother could claim my husband was an unfit father, and she won full custody and completely destroyed her child's relationship with his father. For the past two years, the only time we hear anything from Danny is when he wants something. He does not visit. Although it's likely he now recognizes his mother's manipulations, he has yet to acknowledge it to us.

Danny graduates from high school in June, and at that time, child support will stop. I worry that when Danny ceases to be an income-producing asset, his mother will send him to us with his packed bags. My husband insists he will never allow Danny to live with us, but I know he's severely depressed over the loss of their relationship and I'd like them to patch things up. How can I help that happen? — California

Dear California: If Danny shows up on your doorstep and Dad throws him out, it will only cause further harm to the relationship, even though it is perfectly justified. Instead, allow Danny to live with you temporarily while you arrange for him to go to college and live in a dorm, or find a job and an apartment. Set a realistic deadline for him to move out, and stick to it.

If that plan is not feasible, Dad should take the initiative and arrange to get together with Danny for some regular father-son time — tickets to a ballgame, a fishing trip or something else they both enjoy.

They need to find a way to reconnect.

Dear Annie: My whole life I have had jealousy issues. Past boyfriends have had problems with my possessiveness and I am worried that I will lose my current boyfriend because of it. I know that he would never cheat on me. It is just that every time he talks to a girl, I get mad at him. I try not to, but I feel like every girl he speaks to is prettier than me. How can I stop feeling so inferior and save my relationship? — Nervous Nellie

Dear Nellie: People who are seriously insecure often need professional help to overcome the problem. You are smart to understand that you are being unreasonable and damaging your relationships. You have already taken the first two steps — recognizing you have a problem and wanting to fix it. Now talk to someone. Ask your doctor or clergyperson for a referral.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Pennsylvania Innkeeper" about hotel shampoos. I volunteer at a local food pantry. When I started, there were only 225 families, and in just one year, it has jumped to nearly 700. One day, I decided to bring in a few samples of shampoos and conditioners that I had received. I was amazed to see how fast it all went. Sometimes we don't realize how much little things like those mean to someone who can't afford them.

Would you ask your readers to donate their extra unopened toiletries to their local food pantry? If they don't know where their food pantry is, they can contact their local place of worship. Someone there will know where to distribute these items. Thank you and God bless. — Luckier Than Some in Florida

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



4 Comments | Post Comment
Am I the only one doubting that LW1's story is complete? The boy lied about his dad and dumped him for nothing more than some financial gain? I usually try to take people at their word, but the letter seems a bit fishy to me.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Datura
Fri Apr 3, 2009 10:59 PM

No you are not the only one. I thought it was weird that a father wants nothing to do with an 18-year-old because that 18-year-old lied about his dad when he was 14 or 15. There was no financial gain for *the kid.* There may have been some for the mom. If a teen-ager caves in to the pressure from the mother and does something wrong, should the father be punishing him? Casting him out of his life? I think not. Something is fishy in that story.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Ariana
Sat Apr 4, 2009 11:03 AM
I was dismayed and disappointed to read your article and advice of today where an ex-wife used a son for financial gain and alienation.

This is not only bad advice, its criminal. You have the e-mail address of the person who wrote this. I am asking you to turn this into the authorities and give this man his life back. He may not get his son back, but if you only knew of the financial drain on today's fathers over false pretenses, you would understand. Purjury comes to mind here.

Please, do the right thing here

John Lukas
Comment: #3
Posted by: John Lukas
Mon Apr 6, 2009 9:24 AM
LW1: If this story is true, it's distressing that this could still be happening. The judges I know are quite insistent that one parent turning a child against another is not tolerated. A mother in my jurisdiction would have to offer evidence that the father had recently been convicted of producing kiddie porn or had permanently moved to Siberia to get full custody.

Even so, sometimes parents lie to their children. My mother lied to me about my father. I assume it was to avoid taking responsibility for her own decisions, because I found out that what she said was not true. I can only be grateful that I didn't let it spoil my relationship with my father. LW1's husband should investigate whether his son wishes to restore contact. If he does, he should do everything possible to connect to his kid. Nobody wants that boy to wake up someday and realize that he didn't have a father all those years for no good reason and that it was all his mother's and his own fault.
Comment: #4
Posted by: LouisaFinnell
Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:29 PM
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