Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I are in our 60s and have been together for 12 years. We recently had a disagreement, and he walked away. I emailed him and he said he has feelings for me and always will, but he can't make me happy. He said I need someone who is as romantic and financially secure as I am. He has no pension, no savings and a business that is barely surviving. He also told me that his health problems are why we haven't had sex in four years.
I am his fifth relationship that hasn't worked out. He used to phone me every night and I miss that. After previous disagreements, he always came back. He said he doesn't want to be in a relationship now and needs to look after his business. He claims to be a workaholic. Should I contact him again? — J.
Dear J.: How much do you want to suffer? There are reasons this man is incapable of being in a permanent relationship. If he wants that to change, he would likely need counseling to understand his motivations better. But you cannot make that happen. You can only decide what is best for YOU. Unless this man gets help and makes major changes to his life, he cannot give you any type of commitment, nor does he want to. He prefers to leave the relationship. We think you should let him.
Dear Annie: When our relatives come for a visit, as they do every winter without fail, why do they expect to be treated to free accommodations and free meals, which we provide year after year, while they never offer a coffeecake or pizza or, better yet, to prepare one of the many meals expected during their visit? An offer to treat us to a meal at a restaurant, even breakfast, would be welcomed.
From my perspective, these "guests" freely take our time, our generosity and our kindness at a most stressful time of year, and their only form of appreciation is the blanket invitation to "come on down" offered at their departure. Why don't they mention possible dates for a future visit to make the invitation seem genuine?
These guests do not suggest or pay for activities while visiting us. They think that since they paid to travel to us, we should be willing to cover all expenses while they are here. And since it is their vacation, they treat us as their employees.
We love our family members. We are happy to see them at every opportunity. But we feel taken advantage of, especially when they notify us of the dates for their next visit. — Planning Now
Dear Planning: You are being too accommodating, and they are clueless. You need to set some ground rules. This is family. They visit every year. It's OK to tell them what you expect. Ask them to pitch in for groceries and to help in the kitchen. Once they understand that even guests have obligations, these visits will run more smoothly for everyone.
Dear Annie: This is in regards to Outvoted, who is debating with her siblings about replacing the batteries in Mom's pacemaker.
My family had the same problem. Dad was 92. My sister and I wanted to let him go peacefully, but my mom and brother wanted the batteries changed. We are now living a nightmare. Dad has full-blown dementia. My sister and I are the caregivers, as my brother lives three hours away and Mom is too frail to care for him.
Dad is ornery and hits on every woman he sees. I change his soiled diapers and give him showers. If he were in his right mind, he would be horrified. Had Dad died two years ago, I would have wonderful memories. Now I am beginning to hate him. — Let Her Die with Dignity
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.