Dear Annie: I am a widow in my mid-70s and am comfortably well off. A year after my husband's death, I moved to an apartment in a smaller city in order to be closer to my daughter's family. However, they have their own lives and rarely include me in anything except holiday dinners. None of the fun things I envisioned doing with my grandchildren has happened, and I don't have any old friends in the new city.
I did meet a widower, "Jim," at a church social. We share a lot of common interests and enjoy going out to dinner and movies together. The only downside is that Jim lives entirely on his Social Security check, so I always pay my own way on our "dates." My daughter says Jim is after my money, which may be true, but then sometimes I think she is, too. She's always asking how much money is in the grandchildren's college funds and whether I am dipping into it to pay my expenses.
Jim and I are thinking of taking a Mediterranean cruise in which we would share a cabin and I would pay for 75 percent of the combined cost, based on the fact that my yearly income is three times his. We have already taken some short weekend trips and got on very well.
My daughter is livid. I say it's my money and my business. She said that her father never would have dreamed that I would be subsidizing a cruise for a boyfriend. Frankly, I wouldn't have either, but that's the situation. I don't want to alienate her. What's your advice? — Sugar Momma
Dear Momma: Your daughter needs reassurance that Mom is not being taken advantage of, and that you aren't spending all of your money on some guy. Please let her know that you love her and your new relationship won't change that. If you have promised money to the kids' college funds, reassure her that you won't use the money to splurge on Jim.
But also tell her that you are too young to sit at home. Surely she wants you to be happy in a way that doesn't require her to provide your entertainment. If she hasn't met Jim, please introduce them so she can see what a good companion he is for you. We also recommend you try to meet some female friends, because your entire social life shouldn't be dependent on one man.
Dear Annie: I am a 9-year-old boy who needs your help with my 14-year-old brother. He sometimes gets emotional and makes fun of me and has mood swings. He is having minor problems in school and says that all the other students look up to him. I really care about him.
Also, I am having some trouble in school with adding and subtracting decimals. Any ideas? — Agitated Student and Caring Brother
Dear Agitated: Your brother is going through some changes that are both physical and emotional. He'll be OK, but it will take a little time. If he bullies you, please talk to your parents about it. You also can vent to your school counselor or a favorite teacher who may be able to help you develop coping strategies.
As for decimals, we wish we could make it simple in a short sentence, but we recommend you ask your math teacher for some after-school tutoring. There may be another student in your class who is acing the subject and would be able to help you out.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from "Recovered in Nebraska," who had anorexia. You mentioned ANAD (anad.org) as a resource.
I live in Montreal and would like to inform your Canadian readers that we also have a support group, ANEB, which supports Quebec youth and adults facing the challenges of anorexia and bulimia. Information and support are available in both English and French at anebquebec.com. — Daniel in Canada
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. 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: geralt at Pixabay