Dear Annie: My boyfriend's parents are truly wonderful people, but they have taught their son to rely solely on them. He is in his 50s, and they still pay his bills and give him loans, often for "toys" rather than something necessary. I am self-sufficient. I borrow money from no one, pay my bills and am on a limited budget.
I knew my boyfriend was rather self-centered before we moved in together. We discuss nothing about our household, but he talks to his parents about our finances. When they tell him to do something, he complies, even if I am against it.
This is causing problems in our relationship. I am afraid my only option is to leave. I love him, but I feel I could never measure up to his parents, and they will keep him a little boy forever. Our relationship needs to move to the next level, but it is impossible with them hanging on for dear life. — Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: A man in his 50s who still expects his parents to pay his bills and buy him toys is not a responsible adult, and we cannot promise he ever will be. Unless you can convince him or his parents that their indulgence is not in his best interests, you will be fighting an uphill battle. Sorry.
Dear Annie: I am a recovering meth addict. I've been clean for more than five years. However, during my druggie days, I was pregnant five times. I miscarried all of the babies due to my addiction. I am very ashamed of my past. Every day, I live with the guilt of what I did to my innocent unborn children.
In the past five years, God has blessed me with two wonderful sons, whom I love more than anything. But how do I deal with the guilt? I have tried talking to friends and family, but I'm judged a lot. It's eating away at me. — W.
Dear W.: Please speak to someone who can be impartial about your past and help you deal with your guilt in a way that allows you to forgive yourself. Your doctor can refer you to a counselor, or you could contact any graduate school counseling department, medical school psychology department, United Way, the YMCA, the Samaritan Institute (samaritaninstitute.org) and the Abraham Low Self-Help Systems at lowselfhelpsystems.org.
Dear Annie: "K" complained about a neighbor child she fears is "a ticking time bomb." My son fits nearly every category of her profile. He has difficulty in public and prefers to be by himself. He shows a great interest in guns and has few friends, and we had to move him to a different school because "he didn't fit in." This does not make him a potential risk.
My son struggles every day with epilepsy, along with the side effects of several medications. Children his age can be brutal to those who are different. He withdraws to protect himself. We moved him to a different school because his old one would not provide the resources he needs. Now he can maintain a decent grade point with teachers he respects and likes. His interest in guns is no different from that of other 15-year-old boys in our area, and more importantly, our son has no access to guns. He has a healthy respect for their power.
I admit that impulse control is not his strong point, but we work with him to learn what is appropriate. If you get to know him, you will find a nice kid with a good sense of humor, a passion for history and genuine empathy. He doesn't like to see others being mistreated, because he knows how it feels.
Thank you, Annie, for saying, "We also hope you can be his friend." That's what my son wants more than anything in the world: someone to accept him for who he is. — A Father Who Knows
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. 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.