Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 31 Mar 2020 06:00:21 -0700 Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate 27d2cb1a3963d82eec5cfddc21d15fd9 Recommendations on Opening Up for 03/31/2020 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I understand what "Unable To Open Up" is saying. I was never able to communicate with my parents. It carried over into my marriage and caused problems. </p> <p>My suggestion is for him to write down his thoughts and feelings before he meets with the counselor. I have found that I can put thoughts into words on paper better than I can communicate verbally with someone.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> afb69d4d48317889174fc8d89f615979 Being Comfortable Is Vital for 03/30/2020 Mon, 30 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Please help me with a problem I'm having at home. I'm a 15-year-old girl still living at home, and my mother is insisting that I go to her OB-GYN doctor, who is a man. She has already made an appointment for a few months from now.</p> <p>I am a very modest person and have never had an intimate exam by a male doctor, and the thought of it is causing me tremendous anxiety and turmoil. I am losing sleep over it.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 30, 2020</p> 81f7412665182dae45afae03120cd088 Friendship Is Slipping Away for 03/29/2020 Sun, 29 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I was lucky enough to make several wonderful friends in college a decade ago, and a number of them are still in my life. A kindred spirit amongst them moved to the same city as I did after we graduated, and we conquered and failed our way through the many obstacles of our early adult lives. We were like a living, breathing Taylor Swift song.</p> <p>One difference was our approach to dating. While my friend "Gabby" has spent her 20s crushing from afar and waiting patiently for the perfect man to waltz into her life, I trenched through the mud of phone number exchanges at bars and online dating. I kissed a lot of frogs, and leaned on Gabby through it, but eventually found my prince.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 29, 2020</p> d40699db7859f44de757489ba09d372c Report Caregiver Misconduct and Abuse for 03/28/2020 Sat, 28 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am a senior woman. Recently, my husband, our adult son and my caregiver have been bullying me. </p> <p>It began when I witnessed inappropriate behavior between the caregiver and my husband. When I confronted my husband about it, he denied the obvious transgressions and instead verbally abused me. My son piled on and added to the verbal onslaught. This was very painful for me. It felt as though no one had my back. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 28, 2020</p> 0b4f9acf65e1c48528afd91f6021eb11 Compulsive Religious Behavior Causing Conflict for 03/27/2020 Fri, 27 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am concerned about several of my six siblings. We were brought up very strictly, and we experienced shame if we missed church or sinned. We're all adults with kids of our own now. Over the years, several siblings and their spouses have become obsessively religious. It's their drug. No amount is enough. </p> <p>They practice Catholicism compulsively, and religious conversation is infused into daily conversation. For them, it's about practicing religious rules and expectations, more than the spiritual meanings behind the behaviors. They often cannot answer why they do their rituals but know they must. They ask strangers if they went to church that day and what affiliation they are. They embrace only people of their faith. They avoid anyone else. They seem to need the "spiritual high" from attending church: When they travel, finding a church is a source of anxiety. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 27, 2020</p> a1332627fa6a0225c60e4d96db9595cf Best to Leave It Alone for 03/26/2020 Thu, 26 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Dear Annie: I have a cousin who is married, and he and his wife are very close to my wife and me. We started spending time together, not because of my cousin and me but because our wives hit it off and developed a close friendship. We spend the holidays together, visit one another at least once a week and go out together.</span><br></p> <p>My cousin has two young daughters, one with his wife and another with his ex (who cheated on him, by the way), and he brings them along with us to spend the day together. Lately, my wife and I have been noticing that my cousin's wife has changed dramatically. She used to be more lively, talkative and happy, but now she seems distant and quiet, and sometimes she comes up with excuses to not go out with us. We think this change came about because we found out a couple of months ago (through my wife) that she is cheating on him. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 26, 2020</p> 22c85a1d977f946c3a737acc6768a3f5 Mom-in-Law with Sticky Fingers for 03/25/2020 Wed, 25 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Shortly after I met my mother-in-law, she sat me down, showed me her wallet and told me that she always kept a "hundred dollar bill" in the little outside pocket, as well as a blank check folded up inside one of the credit card slots. She said she did this just in case she got mugged in big 'ole Houston. She sounded like a smart lady, and I was tempted to do the same, but she was too keen every time we visited to see my wallet. She was grooming me so she could steal from me!</p> <p>I began observing better hygiene with my bags and used a little lock on my purse, just when we visited her. The gloves came off very quickly when my mother-in-law couldn't get into my bag for swag. She began tripping me and hitting me "accidentally." My husband and I have much more to lose to identity theft now, so I had to quit visiting. &#8212; Suspicious Daughter-in-Law<p>Updated: Wed Mar 25, 2020</p> 04cfcbf663ab453092454b09cc085ac9 A Ripple Effect of Smiles for 03/24/2020 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm an older gent who has been doing weight training for years. I was walking down the beach one day, wearing my swimsuit, and a young lady approached on a bicycle from the opposite direction. She pointed toward me, and I turned to look at the water thinking the dolphins that had been swimming close to shore were back. She said, "No, you!"</p> <p>Wow. I was blown away. That unsolicited compliment made me feel great the entire day. But it also rang a bell.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> dd31f3bfae17e773e1c26dd507de3077 Stay the Supportive Course for 03/23/2020 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Dear Annie: My cousin has had anger issues for years, especially toward our grandmother. A few years ago, her parents got divorced, and her dad immediately started dating another woman, with whom he now shares a house. My cousin has announced that she is cutting herself off from all family ties, and, when she turns 18 next year, she is planning on changing her last name.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 23, 2020</p> 06d84ee69b9d82afc5508728e07b8e50 Porn Causing Divide in Marriage for 03/22/2020 Sun, 22 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My concern is my husband of 15 years. After we got married, I caught him looking at porn. When I confronted him, he told me he would stop. I believed him. About a month ago, I had a suspicion and confronted him, and he admitted that he had been looking again. </p> <p>We have had our ups and downs, but this is something that just makes me sick. I am so hurt and just feel so belittled by his need for this. It has taken an emotional toll on me, and I need some advice. The past 10 years have been difficult for me healthwise, and the stress that this has put on me really worries me. I don't know whether I can forgive him and move on. I have always had issues with my self-esteem, and this just drives me to think I am not worth much. He says it means nothing to him. I see it as cheating, like if he had had an affair. &#8212; Stressed in PA<p>Updated: Sun Mar 22, 2020</p> 5dcc210e76e2c5eeccb508ed754f530a Giving a Voice to the Mentally Ill for 03/21/2020 Sat, 21 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am new to your column, so I'm not sure what all you've shared with the public about mental illness. I'm hoping you will publish this letter because I feel that most people need to know more. It's often said that the more understanding one gains, the more compassion he/she can extend to others.</p> <p>I have bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. I've had these mental conditions for many years. And in that space of time, I've encountered many people who know very little about mental illness in general. Not long ago, a friend of my mother was talking to her about different people, here in our community, and she referred to some of them as "weirdos," "flakey," "nuts," etc. I was offended and hurt that she would talk that way around me. She knows I'm mentally ill. Some people can be so insensitive. If more folks knew how dreadfully painful mental illness can be, they might have more compassion for one another.<p>Updated: Sat Mar 21, 2020</p> 54ef140e3f79ab8df5501d43c9fcdbb1 Dateless Daughters for 03/20/2020 Fri, 20 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: We have two daughters, ages 30 and 32. They are both educated professionals. While they are completely self-sufficient financially (no debt because we paid for their higher education), we are still their "go-to" for emotional support. They are active socially with friends, colleagues and acquaintances, but neither daughter seems interested in dating. We are continually told by others that they are still "young" and that, these days, young people don't get married until their mid-30s. We get that, but if there is no interest in dating now, how is marriage going to happen in the next five years? </p> <p>How can we let this go? We've been happily married for 34 years and wish for that kind of love, companionship and support for our girls. &#8212; Parents of Perpetually Single Daughters<p>Updated: Fri Mar 20, 2020</p> e87ef7cb05ee3772132ef5b5329e10b8 Past Stuck in Future for 03/19/2020 Thu, 19 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Why am I in a quandary? Because I have been married most of my adult life, and I feel almost nothing for my partner of 33 years, and I'm sure we are both just going through the motions of the relationship. Don't misunderstand; I care deeply for this person. I just feel unfulfilled, and I can't explain it. </p> <p>I guess it's complacency on both our parts. She says she loves me, but she had an affair a couple of years ago with her old boyfriend, and even with counseling, I can't seem to put it in the past. </p> <p>Do you have any suggestions for me? Believe me, I have not been a saint in our marriage, but I have not cheated. &#8212; In a Quandary<p>Updated: Thu Mar 19, 2020</p> 9c020ac7c4f1fcc7442cac289d0a0fd9 Tired of Being Tired for 03/18/2020 Wed, 18 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My live-in girlfriend and I, both 58 years old, have a dilemma.</p> <p>Several times a month, we watch her 7-year-old granddaughter for a night or two, usually on weekends. The child arrives in the evening, stays up until 3 or 4 a.m. and sleeps until early afternoon. I have made fun plans, only to be told that we have to cancel because the child is sleeping. I never know when to make plans.</p> <p>My girlfriend is tired and haggard by the time the child goes home, and this causes friction in our relationship. I feel boundaries need to be set. I have suggested that we set bedtime rules. I am told that this child has no structure at home and Grandma will not or cannot set rules.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 18, 2020</p> 237a37612013088b13c61b91932a082c Finding Forgiveness for 03/17/2020 Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have managed to overcome an abusive childhood, and I'd like to share with you how I did it at age 42, which, unfortunately, was 22 years after my abuser, my father, died.</p> <p>My father had been very abusive but also very loving. As a child, and then as a teenager, this "dual personality" was very hard to deal with. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> d8e90159b49342ec945824d55317c40b Sick of Talk of Being Sick for 03/16/2020 Mon, 16 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: We have a friend whose spouse has many medical concerns. They are serious and can be life-threatening. However, in my opinion, the biggest concern is that every time we are with them, the conversation turns to these medical conditions. My own view is, "What a wonderful world!" But they see it in totally different terms.</p> <p>We listen to the same health problems again and again and again. We understand it's a horrible thing to live with these numerous health issues, but these medical problems could be lessened if the spouse would be more responsible. What can be done to stop the constant conversation about health problems? &#8212; So Tired<p>Updated: Mon Mar 16, 2020</p> fc23455aa54fbd574dad597a2e7de406 Taking It One Day at a Time for 03/15/2020 Sun, 15 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am an alcoholic, in recovery for five months now. Recently, I asked my parents to help me because I have limited desire to do anything. I do not know why. I know that I should have more motivation. This blew up into a heated argument (AGAIN), and I now despise my parents. I have put them through a lot, I am the first to admit it, but when is it enough already? I never wanted to be this way, but I don't feel that I need to be reminded of my shortcomings every day. Maybe it would be easier if I just died. They have other sons to make them proud. &#8212; Misunderstood Son</p> <p>Dear Misunderstood: You are enough &#8212; full stop. Keep reaching out to your parents seeking approval and you'll come up empty-hearted. Take some space from them, especially as you're still in the early stages of recovery. If you've been struggling with this disease for years, it may take a while before your family is able to trust you again. That doesn't mean they don't love you. <p>Updated: Sun Mar 15, 2020</p> 2855cd37242f8cc47447e912bfc8cd80 Tough Love Is Tough for 03/14/2020 Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My wife and I have a 20-year-old son, "Joe," who has "failure to launch" syndrome. He coasted through high school, smoked pot, played video games and did the minimum to get by. After graduation, we agreed he could work part time and go to college, while living at home, although I would have preferred he work full time or join the service.</p> <p>He took no classes over the summer and continued his part-time job delivering pizza for less than minimum wage and tips. Most days, he started work at 4:00 in the afternoon, and he got into the habit of coming home at 10:00 p.m., playing video games and/or partying with friends until 4 in the morning, and then sleeping or staying in bed until thirty minutes before work. If he was not scheduled for work, he would end up in the basement playing video games.<p>Updated: Sat Mar 14, 2020</p> b75ccadef79226c3452834feb3d6e572 Prioritizing Health Checkups for 03/13/2020 Fri, 13 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I lost my wife to cancer two weeks ago after a two-year battle, with surgery and radiation treatments. I just saw a story on the news about how, in America, fewer and fewer people are getting regular wellness checks. There are a variety of reasons why. I ask that you implore your large readership to get annual checkups, especially related to cancer. My wife put off the doctor's appointment for months thinking her jaw pain was related to her teeth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be cancer. Please stress to readers that their chance of getting cancer at some point in their lives is 50%. Yes, that's right. Flip a coin.</p> <p>I, myself, was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. I lost my left kidney (and then the cancer spread). I, too, thought that I was in good health, and in November 2016, skipped getting the blood test with for my wellness checks. That may have caught the abnormal red blood count and diameter readings before it spread. What's the chance two people in the same house get diagnosed with cancer in the same year? &#8212; Regretful Husband, Dad and Grandpa<p>Updated: Fri Mar 13, 2020</p> 8aa1ce802499dda239071bc5772a2a4f Planet Plastic: Is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Enough? for 03/12/2020 Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am not optimistic about the plastic pollution of our planet. I remember a time when plastic did not exist and we managed OK with glass, tin cans, foil, paper, cardboard (waxed for dairy) and something called cellophane. Now everything comes in plastic. Even cans have plastic labels, and glass bottles have plastic caps. </p> <p>We were told that recycling was taking care of the problem; now we learn that only a tiny fraction of plastic is ever recycled. Even plastic objects that are used for years will eventually wind up in landfills (billions of lawn chairs?). PLASTIC WILL NEVER GO AWAY. What can we do, Annie? &#8212; Plastic Problem</p> <p>Dear Plastic Problem: Environmentalists around the globe have been talking about plastic and how to deal with it. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Below are some tips from the Earth Day Network website on how you can reduce your plastic pollution</span>: <p>Updated: Thu Mar 12, 2020</p>