Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My good friend “Ben” met “Kim” during his first week as a freshman at college. Three weeks later, Ben called to tell me they were getting married in a month. Both of their families were shocked.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.12
Ben is usually a sensible guy, but since he met Kim, he has been unpredictable and seems brainwashed. He is hurt when his friends and family tell him that rushing into marriage with someone he barely knows is not a good idea. I resolved to trust Ben’s judgment — until I met Kim. She clearly has serious mental and emotional problems. The first day we met, she told me elaborate personal stories from her childhood that clearly were made up.
Ben was crazy about Kim when they first met, but now he seems embarrassed, and I’d even characterize his reaction as “trapped.” Kim recently announced that she is pregnant, and Ben now feels obligated to marry her. But I don’t trust anything she says. Kim clings to Ben 24/7 and controls his life. I suspect he wants to get out of the engagement, but he’s a little afraid of her. He won’t confide in anyone, but I can tell he’s struggling. What can I do? They are both 19, and I’m afraid this girl is going to ruin his life before it starts. — Distraught Best Friend
Dear Distraught: This sounds like emotional abuse. The combination of being away from home, starting college and meeting an exciting girl didn’t give Ben a chance to catch his breath. If you think he’s having second thoughts, please let him know he doesn’t need to rush into anything, no matter what the circumstances are. Even if there is a baby, he can fulfill his obligations as a father without marrying a girl who seems unstable. Don’t badmouth Kim, but do encourage Ben to talk to a college counselor. Remind him that this is his future and he should take whatever time he needs to get it right.
Dear Annie: We live in the same town as my husband’s brother, and he frequently stops over for short visits. That’s fine, except he makes himself a little too comfortable. During each visit, he opens the fridge or pantry and helps himself to whatever he wants. He even has opened a bottle of wine and poured himself a glass. He never asks whether it’s OK with us.
If we are eating when he stops by, we always offer to feed him, but I think it’s rude that he simply helps himself to whatever he wants without first asking. Am I wrong? How should I handle the situation? — Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: It’s sweet that your brother-in-law feels so welcome in your home that he raids your refrigerator, but obviously, it’s too much, too often. Ask your husband to speak to his brother and explain that you love him, but you are the ones who buy the groceries. Simple consideration requires that he ask before taking anything and occasionally replace whatever he grabs.
Dear Annie: I must say you blew it with “Standing My Ground as the Bad Aunt,” whose nephew’s girlfriend probably stole $170 from them. This young lady should be interrogated about the obvious facts and held accountable. As it stands now, she must feel she got away with it, which will only fuel the fires in her thieving mind. At the very least, she should be aware that everyone knows she is a crook who is not welcome at the scene of her crime. — Lance
Dear Lance: Many readers wanted the girlfriend raked over the coals, but the nephew’s parents specifically asked that “Bad Aunt” let the theft slide because their son had been seriously ill and they didn’t want to upset him. The aunt agreed to this. The opportunity to question the girl has passed, and “Aunt’s” choices now are to lock up the valuables or keep the girl, the nephew and the nephew’s parents out of their home indefinitely. It’s not an easy choice.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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.