Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 22 Nov 2017 19:12:26 -0800 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/annies-mailbox-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox 5501699249763580be84bf385c9cc820 Give Thanks for 11/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/give-thanks-d3a9b Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Readers: Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! We hope you are fortunate enough to be spending the holiday with family and friends. We also hope you remembered those who are alone today and would love to be part of your family on this occasion. If it's too late to include them this year, please make a note on your calendar to invite them next year. </p> <p>Our special thanks to those readers who are spending the day volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens. Bless you for your kind hearts and generosity of spirit. </p> <p>Dear Annie: A few times in the past, you have printed a Thanksgiving Prayer. The first time I saw it, I cut it out of the paper and read it at our Thanksgiving table. It perfectly expressed what I wanted to say. <p>Updated: Wed Nov 22, 2017</p> a796c59a4d8d723b2292e7019d98411a Everybody Mourns Differently for 11/21/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/everybody-mourns-differently Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I was married to my husband for 31 years. Two years ago, he was killed in an accident. I loved him to the moon and back and miss him terribly. </p> <p>Eight months later, my daughter introduced me to a nice gentleman. He is a sweet man, and we have been seeing each other ever since. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is upset and bitter because of it. She thinks I did not wait long enough after my husband's death. What gets me is that one of her daughters just left her husband a couple of months ago, is not yet divorced and already has a boyfriend moving in with her. That doesn't seem to bother my mother-in-law.</p> <p>I love my in-laws, but they have to realize that my path in life is changing, and I have to do what is right for me. How do I get my mother-in-law to understand? Do I just leave it alone and live my life? &#8212; Confused Daughter-in-Law <p>Updated: Tue Nov 21, 2017</p> 40d5d2f8b8cec6337dae1d0b383daf9b Do Not Hand Over Your Money for 11/20/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/do-not-hand-over-your-money Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I work in a large organization and know my colleagues quite well. Though I enjoy working with them, a number of them recently have begun borrowing cash from me. These are usually requests for small amounts to cover the cost of lunch or coffee, but over time, they add up. Not a single one of them has ever voluntarily repaid me. When I ask, the person inevitably looks surprised, smacks his or her forehead and says, "Sorry, I forgot," before handing over the money.</p> <p>It's not that I don't want to be helpful and collegial, but I have come to realize that if I don't pursue those in my debt, I'll never get the money back and will have to write off those sums. Even if my colleagues aren't doing this intentionally, I can't help thinking that in some way, I'm encouraging irresponsible behavior. </p> <p>Is there a professionally appropriate way of saying no the next time I'm asked for cash? &#8212; California Casey<p>Updated: Mon Nov 20, 2017</p> 633376a8de8fa57789ed44aa6a39be6e Be True to Yourself for 11/19/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/be-true-to-yourself Sun, 19 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am a transgendered boy and am having trouble coming out to my family. I wear sports bras and boy's clothing most of the time, and when I am speaking with my friends, I use male pronouns, but I still can't gather the courage to tell my family. </p> <p>My mother and I once talked about it briefly, but I got nervous and ended up saying it was no big deal. Now I feel as if I've missed my chance and will have to wait a long time before I get another shot at it. Being referred to and appearing as a girl makes me genuinely uncomfortable, but I know nothing is going to change until I tell them. Please help. &#8212; Nervous in Vermont</p> <p>Dear Vermont: Your mother likely suspects what is going on and is simply waiting for you to bring up the subject again. While you're considering that, please contact PFLAG (pflag.org), an organization that can answer some of your questions and help you discuss the matter with your parents.<p>Updated: Sun Nov 19, 2017</p> c17933ea4de7be06e2f78a4ebd87f64c He Needs Professional Help for 11/18/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/he-needs-professional-help Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Not too long ago, my life was perfect: great marriage, good kids, well established in our community and a fantastic sex life. Three years ago, at the age of 49, my husband retired after a 30-year career in law enforcement. He retired with no plans, hobbies, friends or passions. Now our life is hell.</p> <p>Four months before his retirement, my husband became stressed, and his entire personality changed. He has periods of obnoxious highs, but most days are violent lows. He sleeps 12 hours a day, has gained more than 50 pounds and complains constantly of health issues (although numerous doctor visits show nothing). He slams doors, throws things, is verbally abusive and makes threats of physical violence.</p> <p>Everything he says is negative, and he spends a great deal of time making his family feel horrible and unworthy. He is paranoid and controlling. I quit my job in my mid-20s to be an at-home mom. He threatens to cut me off financially and reminds me that it's his car, his home, his money. <p>Updated: Sat Nov 18, 2017</p> ff12a37ceafe42a7e78cc525902eff01 Improve the New You for 11/17/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/improve-the-new-you Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I'm in my 30s. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome after a two-year career ended in disaster. It was my mother who suspected what was wrong. It explained the problems I've had &#8212; no friends, no social life and the inability to hold down a job, among others. I knew there was something wrong with me. I couldn't figure out what to do at parties or dinners, or why I never had a girlfriend, and I stopped getting invited to get-togethers because I would sit by myself. Even my one friend thought I was weird. Eventually, she stopped speaking to me, too.</p> <p>Since the diagnosis, I've hated myself less, but I have a lot of regret for not having been a better friend. I may have appeared apathetic, myopic, hostile, selfish or self-absorbed. I regret that my grandparents may have perceived me as uncaring and ignorant. I know it wasn't my fault. </p> <p>I've joined some autism support groups and have met people, but a lot of us are constrained by phobias, tics, medications, etc. Nowadays, there's a lot more that's known about Asperger's, and we're no longer seen as freaks. But it's still hard. I haven't told most of my family about my diagnosis. My grandmother often makes nasty remarks about me. I'm tempted to tell her the reasons for my behavior, but why should I have to explain? She shouldn't say such things to anyone. &#8212; New York<p>Updated: Fri Nov 17, 2017</p> 59eb9eefe4d62e7d81b6ee84883eae53 Why is it Always Up to Me? for 11/16/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/why-is-it-always-up-to-me Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 16 years. We have two children, one with Asperger syndrome. </p> <p>Over the years, my sex drive has waned because of stress, age, work, children, etc. I try to make an effort to be intimate every week. I've seen a doctor to check my hormone levels, and we are already in family counseling because of our child. Additional counseling to discuss intimacy would be cost prohibitive. </p> <p>But, Annie, sometimes I just don't feel like having sex. Rather than trying to "woo" me just a little, or even initiate sex when we have quiet time and our kids aren't likely to walk in, my husband sits and sulks until I make the first move. He does this every single time. During one particularly stressful summer, I didn't make any moves, and he ignored me for two months. He later admitted that he was just waiting to see how long it would take me to ask for sex. He finally apologized. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 16, 2017</p> 7d8c6e92d5788b23d17d882ccfd51efa You Are Not Responsible for 11/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/you-are-not-responsible Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Last May, my children's father committed suicide. He and I had split up two years before because of his violent ways. Despite my marrying another man, I still cared for my ex and worried about his welfare. I would even sneak him food and pay his electric bill behind my husband's back. My husband occasionally would forbid my kids and me from having contact with my ex. He had a point. </p> <p>My ex and I had attempted to reconcile in April, but I couldn't do it. During the drive back to my husband, my ex phoned and begged me to return. I told him I was afraid of him. He yelled, "Nobody will ever have to worry about me anymore." Twenty minutes later, I received a call from his brother, who found him dead.</p> <p>I blame myself. His family does, too. I didn't even go to his funeral, because some of his family members had threatened to kill me if I showed up. I feel terrible for my kids and don't know how to cope. What should I do? Will my kids be OK? &#8212; Distraught Ex <p>Updated: Wed Nov 15, 2017</p> 16f14ed131046fb62a2dfa48704d051e People Pleaser for 11/14/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/people-pleaser Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Recently, my husband mentioned that he wanted to get together with some friends for a project. I encouraged him to invite the guys to our home to work on it. I thought it would be a few hours, but it ended up taking well over 12. They arrived early in the morning and stayed until late that night, taking over our living room. </p> <p>I suggested in private to my husband that he should have wrapped things up by late afternoon. The project is for fun. It's not like they had a deadline for work. It is also designed to continue on a weekly basis for the next six months, so committing to only a portion of the day would not have made much difference. </p> <p>My husband, however, is a people pleaser and didn't feel he could ask his friends to leave before they wanted to. Would it be wise to discuss a lax but scheduled time of arrival and departure with them in the future, or am I being unfair to suggest that the party should move elsewhere after 10 hours? I want my husband and his friends to feel comfortable in our home, but I also don't want my house invaded for such a long period of time. &#8212; East Coast<p>Updated: Tue Nov 14, 2017</p> 9dfb985f4d02906601a0704b2421acc6 Jerk With a Badge for 11/13/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/jerk-with-a-badge Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My cousin "Tyler," who had a host of problems as a teenager, became a policeman at age 23. He was a jerk before he joined up, but now he's become a bigger jerk. </p> <p>Tyler is always bragging that he can fix parking tickets or give you a ticket just for annoying him. He talks back to people constantly, always trying to have the last word. It's awful, and it makes family gatherings impossible. His mother is a champion grudge holder and is still angry with Tyler for things he did as a teen. His father is completely passive. Tyler's wife is OK, although I don't know what she sees in him. His toddler son is very aggressive. </p> <p>I've asked Tyler politely to behave more appropriately, but of course, he won't listen. I've walked out of family dinners and made it clear why. I've even spoken to my family about it, but they refuse to avoid occasions just because of Tyler, even though after these gatherings my mother vents to me in the car. <p>Updated: Mon Nov 13, 2017</p> cf2c24b7fe10b25b15a981bb30f6e402 They are at Peace for 11/12/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/they-are-at-peace Sun, 12 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: When my older sister was dying a year ago, our entire family supported her with calls and visits with the exception of our father and half-brother (my mother's son from a previous marriage). They also didn't attend the funeral and offered no explanation for their absence. </p> <p>Five months later, another sister died. "Dee" never married, and our father was her legal next-of-kin and responsible for the funeral arrangements. Dad refused our help and then denied us any information with the exception of our half-brother. My father had Dee cremated and then mailed her ashes to our half-brother, who then dumped them in his backyard. We learned of this after the fact. </p> <p>We don't know why this happened, but we suspect it was a collaborative effort between our father's third wife, 20 years his junior, and our half-brother's wife, 11 years his senior. The two of them are close in age and good friends. They are also controlling, manipulative and spiteful. <p>Updated: Sun Nov 12, 2017</p> 07e6fb3f43e3cefa6c113c0c1b099cff Toxic Advertising for 11/11/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/toxic-advertising Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am a teenager. In our society, the central message is that you need to look perfect and have tons of money. It's drilled into our heads every day, and I feel the pressure. </p> <p>Clothing companies tell me I need to wear their labels to be popular, cosmetic companies convince me with airbrushed models that their makeup will make me look flawless, and weight programs promise to give me the perfect body. People undergo surgery to make their faces and bodies more appealing because they have been brainwashed into believing the body they were given isn't good enough. </p> <p>While all this goes on, there are simultaneous advertisements for suicide hotlines, medication for depression, and help with bulimia and anorexia. I am sick of it. I don't want to feel like I must look like every Photoshopped model in the magazines to be accepted. I am beginning to question the society I live in. Is there anything to do? &#8212; Teen Lacking Self-Esteem<p>Updated: Sat Nov 11, 2017</p> 02f9b49aa311a0601ed8857d75e906d4 Selfish Siblings for 11/10/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/selfish-siblings Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am one of 13 siblings. Both of our parents have been sick for the past four years. At one time, we had a family meeting, and everyone agreed to pay $20 a week for a caregiver, since we all worked. But slowly, my siblings started to bail out. The first to go was their favorite (and ungrateful) daughter. </p> <p>Dad died three months ago. It was hard on those of my sisters who gave up their weekends to care for my folks and put their families on the back burner in order to do the right thing by our parents. Meanwhile, the ungrateful daughter and another sister were listed as beneficiaries on Dad's life insurance policy. We talked to them about leaving the money to Mom, who needed it, and suggested they give her at least half. One sister did. The other, however, pocketed all of it.</p> <p>How can she live with herself? Why are some siblings so selfish? What can we do? &#8212; Saddened Sibling <p>Updated: Fri Nov 10, 2017</p> 2fdea0068ae4b99460e0bf6bab2bd775 Invisible Bugs Bite, Too for 11/09/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/invisible-bugs-bite-too Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I often feel sharp bites like pinpricks on different places of my body, especially at night. At first, it happened only in the bedroom, but now I get them while sitting in my family room and even in my car. I thought it might be bedbugs, but an exterminator ruled that out. He said he had no idea what was causing the bites and couldn't help. A second exterminator told me the same thing, so I was really disappointed in them. But the bites are becoming worse. I'm not imagining them, because other members of my family have experienced the bites, as well. </p> <p>We cannot see the bugs, but we know we are being bitten. It is unpleasant living this way, and we certainly don't want to spread the problem to others. I am so frustrated that we cannot get this diagnosed and treated. Can you tell us where to turn? &#8212; Twice Bitten</p> <p>Dear Bitten: In many states, it is illegal for exterminators to apply pesticides without knowing the type of bug they are targeting. Talk to your doctor, and also see a dermatologist to find out whether you have physical evidence of bites and can identify the culprits. Some doctors consider "invisible bugs" to be psychological in origin, but there are plenty of tiny mites that cannot easily be seen. <p>Updated: Thu Nov 09, 2017</p> f61b219ce27de43eca622c5d9827a558 He Needs More for 11/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/he-needs-more Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I have been married to my husband for only one month, and he already has had a brief fling with a woman from his office. This caught me completely off guard. I thought we were happy, and I am pretty sure my husband enjoys being married to me. He always says I am much more than he deserves.</p> <p>I have repeatedly asked him why he would cheat on me. He says he needs more sex with different females to be satisfied. What should I do? &#8212; New Bride</p> <p>Dear New Bride: Your husband is telling you quite frankly that he needs more than one sexual partner. This means he is likely to cheat on you multiple times in the future. Unless this is your idea of a good marriage, we don't see much hope. Get checked for sexually transmitted diseases, and then see a counselor and figure out your next move.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 08, 2017</p> 512e7ff1578297f2052f8062bf7b9bc4 He is Juggling Three Separate Lives for 11/07/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/he-is-juggling-three-separate-lives Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My boyfriend lives with a woman who gave birth to his child. He says it is not a romantic arrangement. She wanted to get pregnant, and he provided the genetic material. He sleeps on the sofa.</p> <p>My issue is, when he wants to spend time with this kid, the mother must always be present. She also isn't aware that he is dating me, and we've been together for two years. He is divorced, and his ex-wife and other children don't know about this child. He expects me to keep his secret, stay away from the birth mother and be fine with all of this &#8212; even when overnight trips are planned. </p> <p>I will never be fine with this. He says I should trust him. But, Annie, I just can't wrap my head around why I should blindly accept this. Am I wrong? &#8212; Third Wheel <p>Updated: Tue Nov 07, 2017</p> cf480b92152b599bc2bb4e9be74e2764 Helping or Enabling? for 11/06/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/helping-or-enabling Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My husband, "Paul," wants nothing to do with my 36-year-old son, "Alan." I admit that Alan lived with us too long and has done some terrible things, but he's my son and I love him. I've enabled him because of his health problems. He has diabetes, epilepsy and vision problems and, in the past year, has lost 80 pounds. </p> <p>A few weeks ago, Alan threatened suicide and had a knife in his hand. Paul didn't know what to do and called the police to have Alan arrested. We found out later that he was doing drugs, so Paul kicked him out and issued a restraining order keeping his stepson away from the house. </p> <p>Alan was gone for several weeks, living with various friends. Despite the restraining order, he came over yesterday morning. He hadn't eaten in days. His friends have abandoned him, and he is homeless. Paul said he "needs to learn," but I was worried sick and was so glad to see him. But when Paul saw him eating at the kitchen table, he threatened to move out. <p>Updated: Mon Nov 06, 2017</p> 7406ab8e086e592f72322085e6a62696 Do What You Feel is Right for 11/05/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/do-what-you-feel-is-right Sun, 05 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My father was recently killed in an accident. Now it's just my mother and me. I don't know how my mom is going to cope with the loss, and I am not sure how I will, either. I won't have my father around to see me graduate, get married or have kids.</p> <p>Here's the issue: I'm 20 and will be transferring soon to an out-of-state college. This was planned months ago. But I worry that once I leave, my mother will have a breakdown. </p> <p>Am I making the right choice to go away? I've been dreaming of this college for years, but now I feel selfish. I know I can't put my life on hold, but I want to be sure I'm doing things the right way. I want to be on my own and learn to become independent, but I also realize I'll be alone and will have to start all over, just like my mom. It's going to be hard.<p>Updated: Sun Nov 05, 2017</p> c2e2d9aaa50d4d93943ba08ace48cae2 Listen to your Inner Voice for 11/04/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/listen-to-your-inner-voice-66217 Sat, 04 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a 17-year-old straight-A student and have sound judgment for most things, but I'm not sure about this. </p> <p>I have started seeing "Michael," a 25-year-old guy. I know it's a big age difference, but everything else about our relationship is perfect. So far, we have only gone out to public places and for limited amounts of time. I feel like I am being smart about this, but if I look at the situation objectively, the age difference gives me pause. </p> <p>My parents do not know about my relationship with Michael, and I feel horrible hiding it. I have confided in one friend so that if I need her, she can pick me up and drive me home. I feel as if I am safe, but still, I don't know what to do. <p>Updated: Sat Nov 04, 2017</p> 57b6b1a5fc317e5babe44094668610e7 He is your Son for 11/03/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/annies-mailbox/11/17/he-is-your-son Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My son's father, "Joe," and I divorced when "Bobby" was very young. Joe remarried and moved to another state. When Bobby was 11, I thought it best for him to go live with his dad so he could have a male role model. Joe was always a good father, just a lousy husband. </p> <p>Despite financial hardship, I eventually moved to the same state. The problem was Joe's wife. She did everything possible to interfere with my relationship with Bobby, including intercepting phone messages and opening his mail, not giving my name to the school as an emergency contact, giving me false information about Bobby's schedule, and blatantly lying to Joe about everything she and I discussed. Worse, she told Bobby I didn't care about him. </p> <p>The last time I heard Bobby's voice was a message he left on Mother's Day five years ago. The last time I saw him was at his high school graduation, after which he and his father and stepmother moved to another state where Bobby started college. I have tried to contact him multiple times, to no avail. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 03, 2017</p>