Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:12:49 -0700 Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate 9c1032f1161fd717905c921698a7c8de The Push and Pull of Friendship for 03/18/2018 Sun, 18 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: "Susie" and I are long-term friends. We've known each other for 40 years. My husband and I moved to another state a few years ago, and Susie subsequently followed me. I introduced Susie and her husband to another friend of mine, "Linda," and Linda's husband. We enjoyed many good times together, the six of us. </p> <p>As time went on, Susie's husband and Linda's husband became the best of friends, pushing my husband out and excluding him altogether. I decided I no longer wanted to associate with Linda's husband as I thought he instigated the estrangement of my husband. Linda, in turn, got angry and unfriended me on social media and in real life. Now, Susie &#8212; a friend of 40 years &#8212; has resumed her friendship with Linda, and I feel that she is disloyal to me and does not value my friendship as she knows this hurts me. What say you? &#8212; Pushed Out<p>Updated: Sun Mar 18, 2018</p> 197f6067d7dc3defd0276d916ec69be7 Another Kind of Addiction for 03/17/2018 Sat, 17 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: As hard as it is for me to talk about this, my problem is that I suffer from addiction. I envy alcoholics, drug addicts and smokers because they have access to medications to help them stop. But that is not the case for me. I have a sexual addiction and have struggled with pornography addiction. I called a couple of agencies in the Yellow Pages, and they must have thought it was a prank call, because they hung up on me when I disclosed the nature of my addiction.</p> <p>There was a time when I never thought of myself as an addict. When I was younger, I foolishly, carelessly and recklessly thought it was a harmless recreational thing. If I had known then what I now know, I would have made different decisions. Since then, I've told myself, "This will be the last time." But it never is. I have tried 12-step groups, even though there is no group in my area that addresses my specific problem. I have been in outpatient and inpatient treatment. I have tried pastoral counseling, but I have been told that the nature of my problem is so severe that it requires professional counseling, not pastoral. I found only one therapist in my area who is a sexual addiction therapist, and I couldn't afford his services. The treatment he outlined for me is a three-to-five-year program (he said it would most likely be even longer for me), and it would be all uphill. I have been advised to cultivate real intimacy in relationships, but I'm not sure what that means. I am a 48-year-old lifelong bachelor who has never been in any relationship, never dated and never been in love. So I have no spousal support. I have no family and no friends. There is no university counseling in my area. My insurance doesn't cover behavioral health treatment.<p>Updated: Sat Mar 17, 2018</p> 6afd0b3b67298cf9067da7039e7e44a5 A Resource Down the Drain for 03/16/2018 Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My roommate has an annoying habit. Every time he uses the bathroom, he keeps the water running. We live in a drought-ridden area, and I don't want to think about the amount of water he wastes each day. We've lived together successfully for just over a year now, without any real fights. I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but I do want him to get the impact of leaving the faucet on. We have separate bathrooms, so the first time I heard the running water was a few months into living together. I casually asked about it, and he said he's been self-conscious of bathroom noise since he was little. I didn't want to push it too much because it seemed to be a sensitive issue, but I mentioned the drought and how it might be a waste. He agreed but didn't change his actions. He pays the water bill, and I pay the cable, so it's not a matter of money. But I find myself super aware of every time he goes to the bathroom, which is not a habit I want. Annie, I'm not sure how to approach him about this again or how to stop caring so much. Got any advice? &#8212; Water Waster</p> <p>Dear Water Waster: You could suggest to your roommate that he buy a fan or a noise machine so he can get the effect of running water without the waste. But at the end of the day, bathroom habits are highly personal, and you can't control your roommate's. So the most practical advice here: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Be the change you want to see in the environment.</span> Compensate for his overuse of water by reducing your usage. Visit for some creative ideas on how to do that.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 16, 2018</p> 18d704859cd569c4a62a88691fa5b955 Say What? for 03/15/2018 Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Frustration is interrupting my sleep, upsetting my stomach and leaving me on the edge of tears or screaming. My husband of many years has had a hearing problem for years, but he won't do anything about it. I have tried all manner of things to get him to go to an audiologist for assessment, including telling him I'll go, too (even though I have excellent hearing!). I try to make him understand how much he's missing every day, to no avail. I've realized that I can be verbally nasty when he doesn't hear or hears incorrectly &#8212; which often starts an argument. I've been to a counselor to try to get some coping skills, as this is really affecting our overall relationship, but trying her suggestions is getting me nowhere. He just digs his heels in deeper. I feel that if he really loved me, he'd at least get an evaluation to stop this downward swing in our relationship. I don't like how this is all making me feel. It's getting hard to pretend I'm happy in front of friends. Any suggestions? &#8212; Sad and Frustrated Beyond Words</p> <p>Dear Sad and Frustrated Beyond Words: The good and bad news is that you are already taking all the right steps. Try to get out of the mindset that if he really loved you, he'd get a hearing evaluation. Though this obviously impacts you, <span class="column--highlighted-text">it isn't about you. It's about your husband's own hang-ups with accepting and admitting he has hearing loss.</span> Continue with therapy, and consider trying meditation. Until he's open to seeing a doctor, focus on your mental health. Sometimes it's only after we stop trying to get loved ones help that they decide they want it for themselves.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 15, 2018</p> 9033216f52d459e3af92bcaa3f33d17b Retirement to Bring New Headaches for 03/14/2018 Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: After working my whole life, I am retiring in a couple of weeks. I've been looking forward to some downtime, sleeping in, time for myself and time to do the things I want to do, but a problem has appeared.</p> <p>My husband wants me to take care of his 97-year-old semi-invalid father, who expects a full cooked breakfast every morning at 7 o'clock. On top of that, my son and his wife, who work different shifts, expect me to care for their screaming 2-year-old toddler and their new baby, who is due in a few weeks.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 14, 2018</p> eaeedd252c163e7b9548517d8d294436 Be Happy for Your Mom for 03/13/2018 Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Why can't children of widowed parents be happy when their surviving parent finds a new companion? As a recently divorced senior citizen, I have re-entered the dating scene. I have dated a couple of widows whose children (in their 30s and 40s) have proved to be a real challenge. These ladies have been widowed for three to 10-plus years, yet their children are a real obstacle. Why can't they be happy that their mom has found a new companion instead of resisting it and, in one case, preventing their mom from continuing the relationship? I think this is very selfish and even harmful to their parent. What would you tell these adult children? &#8212; We Deserve Happiness</p> <p>Dear We Deserve Happiness: I would tell these adult children to let love rule. It's unfair for them to prevent their parents from being in loving romantic relationships. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Perhaps they're displacing their anger over the loss of a parent</span>, taking it out on the new love interest. It might help if you were to take care to respect the memory of their fathers and make clear that you're not trying to replace anyone.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 13, 2018</p> 4f89c2d9325e221a4a7625dd5fd4f264 On the Other Side of the Bars for 03/12/2018 Mon, 12 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm a pretrial detainee, and I've been in jail waiting for my day in court for going on three years now. My wife has been patiently awaiting my return. She has been so supportive and has persevered through this trying time with courage and strength. My dilemma is that I'm worried that she is growing weary but is too proud to admit it. I wonder at times whether it's fair to ask her to wait or even to ''allow'' her to wait. I guess a part of me thinks I should let her go because I love her so much. I would hate to see her suffer further, and there's a chance my trial will not go as I hope. How should I handle this? &#8212; Lover in Limbo</p> <p>Dear Lover in Limbo: You want your wife to have happiness even if it's without you. That's love. Though I admire your willingness to selflessly "let her go," you can't make that decision for her. <span class="column--highlighted-text">You two are a team, united in marriage for better or worse.</span> Talk to her; express your feelings, and let her know it's OK for her to express hers, whatever they are. Have faith that she will tell you honestly. Extended Family ( offers a database of resources for families of those who are incarcerated, which she might find useful, as she'll need all the support she can get during this difficult time. Lastly, I imagine you've already exhausted every option, but do be sure to consult your lawyer about your right to a speedy trial.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 12, 2018</p> a8ad71ffdcb07fb044906299d8e877d6 Passionate Kiss With an Old Friend for 03/11/2018 Sun, 11 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My wife, "Andrea," bumped into an old friend, "Gary," at our tennis club's New Year's Eve party. They were friends in high school, but he moved out of the area for college and didn't move back until recently. (His parents have both fallen ill, and he and his wife are taking care of them.) At the New Year's Eve party, Gary and my wife exchanged a passionate kiss on the dance floor at midnight. Our other friends in attendance looked at me to see what my reaction would be, seeing as Andrea and I have been married for 20 years. Needless to say, I was shocked and embarrassed and could only look on in astonishment. The rest of the evening was ruined. On the way home, I asked Andrea what that kiss was all about. She told me that she and Gary were just good friends. I told her that regardless of whether they were old friends or not, that kind of behavior was very hurtful to me and very inappropriate. She insisted it was nothing, just a friendly kiss between old friends.</p> <p>Gary will be hosting a party and invited my wife and some of their other old friends. For obvious reasons, I'm uncomfortable with her going.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 11, 2018</p> 01b964101ab22f0ce2b4b847dec41a65 Daughter With a Nasty Habit for 03/10/2018 Sat, 10 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have a beautiful daughter in her mid-20s. She is attractive, bright, friendly and hardworking. She has so much going for her. She does have a peculiar bad habit: She picks her nose in public. It's not just a quick pick when no one is looking. This is a thorough deep cleaning without a tissue.</p> <p>I have tried to talk to her about this, but her response is: "People need to accept me for who I am. If they don't like me because I pick my nose, I don't need them as friends." I can't help but think that her behavior is more than just a bad habit. I think there is a deep-rooted problem that drives her to do this. I think she uses it as a test to see whether people accept her and, perhaps, to drive some people away.<p>Updated: Sat Mar 10, 2018</p> 8ac5791ec67a59f9d4f259a8b70a3917 Dating With Autism for 03/09/2018 Fri, 09 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am a 36-year-old man living with my father. I also have autism, and because of this, I have had difficulty in dating women.</p> <p>For a few years, I was on the dating website called I Love Your Accent (I had been on 10 other sites prior to that), which matches American and British singles, but nothing happened.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 09, 2018</p> dfb705c7a38150e3689e905760a7f8c9 Gratitude Lacking for 03/08/2018 Thu, 08 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: There are three sisters in my family. Two of us are childless. Our other sister now has seven grandchildren. Every Christmas and birthday, my other childless sister and I send a check to each grandniece and grandnephew. We never expect any gifts in return, but it would be nice to receive a text message or an email acknowledging our gifts. My other childless sister and I also receive regular solicitations to contribute to special funds &#8212; for example, one to pay for band uniforms.</p> <p>Upon any graduation from high school, my other childless sister and I are expected to attend the event and pay for our own airfare, a hotel room, a car rental and other expenses, which is fine. But then we are both expected to work in the kitchen to assist with an elaborate gathering for many people &#8212; which I know is very expensive.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 08, 2018</p> 227ed7845e9a206ae08b37b31eef6b1d The Other Women for 03/07/2018 Wed, 07 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am an attractive and well-educated divorced woman. Recently, a man whom I dated several years ago contacted me. We are both 70. Our reunion was great. We have been getting along very well and communicating daily ever since. We live across the country from each other. He invited me to his home, where I was his guest for three weeks. When we were alone, we had a wonderful time. We have great chemistry and enjoy each other's company, sense of humor and personality. He tells me that he loves me. I love him, too.</p> <p>My problem is that during my visit, it became apparent that he has numerous female "friends" (most single, some married) who are neighbors. He talked to them many times a day. They called constantly, and he took the calls privately. He even stopped in the middle of our being intimate to take calls from these women. He confides everything to them and refuses to say "no" to them.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 07, 2018</p> 6c1b98c168dc1073d201abf79f6a08c1 Wedding Invitation Snub for 03/06/2018 Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My youngest daughter, "Marta," is beautiful and caring but intellectually challenged. I have always encouraged all my kids to do what makes them happy, and she is no different. A couple of years ago, she met a wonderful man through mutual friends, "Brian." After dating for almost a year, they married last fall. We could not ask for anyone more caring and giving. Brian makes Marta his first priority as a spouse, partner and friend in his life.</p> <p>The reason I'm writing: My second-youngest daughter, "Elle," who is 27, is getting married this fall and wants to invite Marta but not Brian.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 06, 2018</p> e3750176efac9d842af7439a8e0e3a7e Lack of Long-Distance Trust for 03/05/2018 Mon, 05 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: About six months ago, my boyfriend, "Jordan," relocated to another state for work. We've talked about my eventually moving there, too, so we could be together, but we've held off making firm plans. He says he needs more time to settle in to life there. He also says he wants to be positive he sees himself at this job long term before I uproot my life, too.</p> <p>He visited twice within the first month after moving, but in the past five months, he's visited only once. I went out there once a couple of months ago. We do talk on the phone or video chat every other day, which helps.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 05, 2018</p> ac7b29bef8fbaaee67abf642ef4a46b9 Hoarding Isn't Logical for 03/04/2018 Sun, 04 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My sister is 75 years old. She is a hoarder. She has lived at home her whole life and started accumulating junk soon after my dad died 10 years ago. If something comes into the house, it isn't going out, as it is with most hoarders. So you can imagine what an appalling situation it has become.</p> <p>My sister took care of my mom, who was in a wheelchair until she died two years ago at age 93. I spent thousands of dollars between the time when my mom became ill and when she died, driving a 50-mile round trip every day for six years to help my sister take care of her. And I continued to do so every other weekend after our mom died, bringing my grandsons to visit so my sister wouldn't feel lonely.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 04, 2018</p> 652c432f8a530b32bffaa7e218556b1a Tired of Waiting for Thank-You Notes for 03/03/2018 Sat, 03 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: When did it become OK to not send thank-you notes for wedding and shower gifts? A close relative got married in September, and I have yet to get a reply for the wedding gift or shower gift. In fact, in the past several years, I have given five wedding gifts with no response by the happy couples. It makes them look ungrateful, unappreciative and, frankly, lazy. I'm about ready to throw in the towel and not be a cheerful giver anymore. One bride told me she had a year to get her thank-yous out. Who started that ridiculous rumor? I feel that three months for wedding gifts &#8212; and before the wedding for shower gifts, assuming there is ample time in between &#8212; seems appropriate. &#8212; Not Happy</p> <p>Dear Not Happy: Your feeling is in line with the etiquette. According to wedding magazine The Knot, couples should send thank-you notes within two weeks for any gifts received before the wedding and within three months for gifts received after the wedding. That doesn't mean they will, but I'm printing this to nudge any newlyweds who have a stack of unaddressed envelopes gathering dust on the credenza. Seeing as you wrote me and they didn't, here's my advice for you: Try to let it go. Holding that anger will only hurt yourself.<p>Updated: Sat Mar 03, 2018</p> af5bd5b9a9f02073c8d402e41e243cd1 Toxic Mother-in-Law Strikes for 03/02/2018 Fri, 02 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm at my wits' end. Yesterday my mother-in-law, "Alice," called my husband, "Gavin," to complain about how I am not nice to her and how she is tired of being pushed around. This is not the first or second or 22nd time that Alice has painted herself as the victim. She has a lot of issues, though she refuses to get counseling, which is why her first marriage fell apart, and most of the time, I just let her vent and try to not let her get to me. I'll play nice and then continue my life with Gavin and our 2-year-old daughter, "Vivian."</p> <p>Gavin's been on my side through this entire thing, and he's told her many times to stop treating me this way. But I found out that she's been complaining about me to all of Gavin's siblings, too, trying to get them to agree with her on how my parenting style is all wrong and how I'm crazy for thinking she's judgmental.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 02, 2018</p> 27147205869a7223fd5fac42bb7eb19d Time to Take the Keys? for 03/01/2018 Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: It makes me so sad to watch my family grow old. My grandfather has been in denial about his aging process, and now it's creeping up on him from behind. Growing up, I was always impressed by how youthful he was; well into his 70s, he was playing tennis every day, running, going on social outings and driving all over the place for various band rehearsals. He is now in his late 80s, and his body no longer lets him push the physical boundaries. However, that hasn't stopped him from pushing other boundaries. He is still driving, and I think it's dangerous.</p> <p>Annie, he has been in several fender benders in the past few months, and though they were harmless enough to not deter him from continued outings, I feel that he has just been lucky. He often calls us lost, asking for directions from the road or not remembering where he's going. Adults in the family have tried to gently tell him he should not drive, but he won't hear it. It's also difficult to have this conversation without threatening his masculinity or coming off as disrespectful. I'm scared for him and for others on the road. How do you tell your hero that he can no longer perform the simplest of tasks? &#8212; Granddad's Girl<p>Updated: Thu Mar 01, 2018</p> df2529eb13311ab4cbd9701aec0c0c1f Best Friend at One Point for 02/28/2018 Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My father was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. I told a close childhood friend. She responded, "I don't know if I can deal with that." Then she didn't speak to me for six months. This was hurtful &#8212; as I had recently spent many weekends traveling (I live out of town) and hundreds of dollars as her maid of honor, supported her emotionally through the stress of wedding prep, and helped her move &#8212; but I didn't have the emotional capacity at the time to try to rebuild the friendship.</p> <p>Now that a year has passed, we have been occasionally spending time together again, though we avoid serious conversation. She introduces me as her "best friend." Recently, I accidentally referred to someone else as my best friend, and she took offense. I don't want to lose an old friendship, but I can't imagine being more than casual friends. How can I tactfully tell her that she is far from my best friend and that I'm uncomfortable with her possessiveness? Or is it kinder to leave her to her own perception of our relationship? &#8212; Less Invested<p>Updated: Wed Feb 28, 2018</p> af736e488cc12f5dd29225e269e0574e Married but Alone for 02/27/2018 Tue, 27 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years. Sometimes I think I don't know him at all. He hardly calls or texts me when at work, but he would call his siblings at any time of the day. He doesn't answer my calls or respond to my texts messages, either. He is often late from work, usually arriving two hours after he's done even though it's 30 minutes away.</p> <p>I feel isolated and lonely. I'm often perplexed by my husband's reaction whenever I tell him how I feel. Recently, I told him, "I don't think you love me." And he replied, "Go tell your friends that." He isn't happy if I go out for dinner with my girlfriends. He seldom goes out, because I caught him lying once.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 27, 2018</p>