Dear Annie: My handsome son is causing me great heartache. “Payton” is a 17-year-old senior, a good student and terrific athlete, and he’s been having sex with a 22-year-old divorcee and will not listen to reason.
This woman lives in our neighborhood and Payton promised he would not see her again, but I followed him twice going to her house and then he lied to me about it. My husband is no help. He talked to Payton about the dangers of getting involved so deeply with this woman, but basically, he accepts Payton’s situation and says it’s more important to talk to him about safe sex.
I am at my wits’ end. Payton lies to me but admits his affair to my husband. I was going to get the school counselor to talk to him, but my husband forbids it. This is going to ruin my son’s life and I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions? — Frantic Mom in Delaware
Dear Frantic: Stop pressuring Payton. It will only make him lie and sneak around more. Unfortunately for you, it is not against the law in Delaware for an adult to have consensual sex with a 17-year-old (unless the divorcee is, for example, his teacher). If you make him feel like a foolish child, he’ll just dig in his heels. Say nothing negative about the woman, but tell Payton you hope he is taking precautions and using birth control. Assure him that you will always love him and only want what’s best for his future. He should not see you as the enemy.
Dear Annie: I am a 62-year-old divorcee living with my 67-year-old fiance in the house he built over 30 years ago. We are not planning on marrying.
The challenge in living here is that most of the things in the house are his. I sold the majority of my belongings. “Gerald” wants to control all decorating decisions. I cannot change a paint or carpet color or get a new piece of furniture without his approval. The house already looks like it belongs in the 1970s. He refuses to give anything away because he paid “good money” for it and insists the furniture and carpets are still in good condition, so why change them?
I get frustrated living in his never-changing world. I am embarrassed when our friends come over. I’d like the house to look more up-to-date, but I don’t want to put a lot of my own money into it because it will end up going to his children when he dies. I’m stuck. Please help. — Living in a Time Warp
Dear Time Warp: This is supposed to be your home, too, not Gerald’s house that you are permitted to live in but not touch. Try changing just one small item. Maybe put an old lamp or table in the garage and replace it with something modest, but tasteful, and pay for it. Once Gerald gets used to it, he may become receptive to updating more and splitting the costs. If not, be prepared to put on the disco records or move out.
Dear Annie: I want to comment on a letter from “Pete from Vermont.” His lady friend and her friends love to drink and do drugs, and that seems to be the center of their activities. This crowd believes that “everyone” behaves this way and Pete is just old-fashioned to think otherwise.
I agree with you, Annie. Not everyone is drinking and partying. I, too, am in a relationship where I am the non-drinker. We are always having issues about his drinking. I have met only a few of his friends because they all hang out in the bars or at the racetrack, where I don’t care to go.
So, Pete, here I am — a non-drinking, no-drugs 49-year-old pretty woman. We are out there. — Audrey in Baltimore
Dear Audrey: Too bad we don’t run a dating service. So many women wrote to tell Pete they neither drink nor do drugs that he’d have his hands full.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger on 12.03.07