Dear Annie: I have 19-year-old sister who I think is sexually active. A few weeks ago, I went over to "Carol's" apartment to help with some cleaning. When I went to throw some garbage away, I noticed her jewelry box was open. I looked inside and spotted an unopened condom at the bottom. I was shocked.
Carol has been seeing her boyfriend, "Vince," for about three years, but I never thought they could be having sex. I know my parents don't agree with having sex before marriage (neither do I), but I don't know if they are aware of this.
As a concerned sister, what should I do? Should I tell my parents, talk to my counselor or talk to Carol personally? She would kill me if she knew I went through her stuff, but I want to protect her. — Confused and Concerned
Dear Confused: We know you may not agree with Carol's personal choices, but she is 19 and an adult. Her decisions are her own now, right or wrong. Say nothing.
Dear Annie: My husband is a baseball card collector, and through the years, his hobby has evolved to include basketball cards, sports memorabilia or anything else he thinks is worth saving. He also frequents gambling boats, and all of the giveaways have now made it to his treasure trove. I can't handle it any longer.
We have a four-bedroom home with a spare room for his card collection. We can't open the door anymore because the stacks have fallen over and blocked it shut. There is a corner of our bedroom housing Christmas presents from past years that he won't put away, and he can no longer get into the room with his collectibles.
I used to clean up as well as I could, but it's just too overwhelming now. Other than torching our home and starting over, please tell me what to do. I'm ashamed to have anyone visit, and he won't let me touch his stuff. — Love Him, Not The Mess
Dear Love Him: Your husband started as a collector, but seems to have moved into compulsive hoarding.
Would he be willing to stash his card collection and other items in a storage facility? Tell him his things will be safe there, and he will have more space to continue collecting. If he agrees, you may have to move his collection when he is not home, because he may never be able to actually do this himself. Meanwhile, contact the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (ocfoundation.org) at 676 State St., New Haven, CT 06511, for more information.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been living in my in-laws' home for three years. We originally moved in because my father-in-law, "Louie," had a nervous breakdown, and my husband got laid off. My husband went back to school to finish his degree and has been offered a position with a great company. Unfortunately, the company is far away, and Louie has made it clear that he doesn't want us to move.
This isn't the first time Louie has involved himself in our personal decisions. Often my husband and I will agree on a plan, and as soon as Louie gets wind of it, he has a long discussion with my husband and somehow makes him doubt his decision.
Louie now tells my husband how we will struggle if we move away because we will be living off one paycheck, in a no-doubt awful apartment in a bad neighborhood. My husband values his father's word, but Louie is controlling our marriage, and my husband doesn't see it. What should I do? — Desperate to Leave
Dear Desperate: Your husband must place you above his father. He can value Louie's word without letting him have so much influence over the final decision. If your husband cannot separate his needs from his father's, the two of you should see a counselor who will help him become more independent.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2005. 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.