Dear Annie: I am running out of advice for my daughter, "Katie." She lives with her fiance. Last year, his middle-aged, disabled father moved in with them. A month ago, his sister, her fiance and their two toddlers also moved in. The children wreak havoc on her clean, organized home. Neither the sister nor the father will clean up after themselves when they use the kitchen. The sister lets her kids get into everything. The father sits in his room all day.
To keep the peace, Katie chooses to keep quiet until she comes to see me. Then she unloads all of her aggravation. I don't know what to tell her. How does she get these lazy, sloppy people to pick up after themselves? — Katie's Mom
Dear Mom: Katie isn't asking you for advice. She is frustrated by her home situation and is venting to you because you are her safe refuge. If she truly wants the freeloaders to help out (or leave), she needs to discuss how to handle this with her fiance and reach an agreement before it overwhelms their relationship. Simply allow her to air her feelings, listen attentively, nod your head and make sympathetic sounds. If she asks what to do, tell her to talk to her fiance. If she is reluctant to do that, she is setting herself up for a lifetime of marital misery.
Dear Annie: I am recently divorced from an abusive man after 25 years, and I decided to try online dating. The first site did no background checks and when I did a Google search on the photos of the men who approached me, I discovered they were not who they said they were. The second dating site verified my photo and account info, so I felt more secure. However, there are scam artists there, too. One of them drew me in, but after a month of texts and emails, I have come to realize he, too, just wants money. My heart is broken, but I know time will heal it.
Here are my words of wisdom for your readers who try online dating: These sites are rife with con artists. Make sure the site does background checks or verification of some kind. Do not give prospective suitors your email address. Communicate only through the site. Meet only in a public place and have a friend accompany you. If he keeps coming up with excuses to change the date, drop him. If he tells you he's in love after one or two emails, drop him. He's a phony. If he asks you for money, even a small amount, drop him. If he tells you he has to leave for an overseas trip and then needs money to get home, drop him.
I was so drawn in by this guy's beautiful words and romancing that I let my heart rule my head. Warn others. — Know Better
Dear Know: Happy to. There have always been "romance" scams, but the Internet makes it easier. Entire industries exist to take advantage of lonely people, even on legitimate sites. There are ways to verify someone's photo online — as well as those flowery, romantic statements — to see whether they are stolen from another source. No matter how wonderful someone seems, NEVER meet them in your home or theirs, or allow them to drive you somewhere. And NEVER send them money. Be careful.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of 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.
Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay