Dear Annie: After a recent visit from my 25-year-old unmarried son, “Josh,” I found undeniable evidence that he has been involved in several homosexual encounters. Although I can’t say I am happy to learn of this, it doesn’t change my feelings. I still love him very much.
The problem is, Josh has been dating a wonderful young woman for over two years. They are planning to move in together in the near future. I am so frightened and upset that he is putting not only his health at risk, but hers as well. I’m also worried about the emotional trauma she will suffer if and when she finds out about his sexual behavior.
Do I confront him with this knowledge or keep it to myself? — He’s Still My Son
Dear Still: Talk to Josh and tell him what you know. Explain that it is unfair and potentially hurtful to his girlfriend to keep her in the dark about his sexual orientation, whatever it may be, and any risky sexual behavior he has previously engaged in. She deserves to know what she’s getting into. We hope this opens up a dialogue that will encourage Josh to come clean.
Dear Annie: I’m a retired senior citizen and no longer able to drive. I have a friend, “Lois,” who takes me wherever I need to go, and I must say, she goes above and beyond to help me.
The problem is, I’m afflicted with severe allergies, and for the past few months, Lois has been bringing her dog, which insists on sitting on my lap. Sometimes the dog’s paws are wet and dirty and I don’t appreciate this on my clothes.
This is a nice dog and Lois is very attached to him, but I can’t continue this arrangement. Lois knows I am allergic, but she is very opinionated and has a short fuse. I don’t know how to approach this without losing a friendship. — Vermont
Dear Vermont: It is possible Lois is trying to tell you something. Bringing her dog is a surefire way to get you to stop asking her to drive you everywhere. It’s time to speak up. Tell Lois how grateful you are that she has been chauffeuring you around, but as much as you like her dog, you cannot be in such a confined space with an animal because of your allergies. Thank her for her generosity and say you will find another means of transportation. Either she will promise to leave the dog at home, or she’ll give you a version of, “Sorry, I’ll miss you,” in which case, she’s sending you a clear message that she’s had enough.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Married Daughter,” who moved into her mother’s previous house and resented Mom coming and going at will. She wanted to know how to get Mom to stop. I know how: Move into your own place.
“Married” says she lives in Mom’s old house because of financial difficulties. They do upkeep, but don’t otherwise pay rent. It looks to me as if they are using dear old Mom and then resent it when she appears unannounced. If they want to continue to occupy the house rent-free, they should suck it up and let Mom enter whenever she wishes. If they start paying market-value rent, they will then be justified in putting a chain on the door and telling Mom to call before she drops by. — J.
Dear J.: Many readers agree with you, but we don’t believe how much rent you pay should have any bearing on whether or not the landlord drops in unexpectedly, even if the landlord is Mom. Both parties agreed to this living arrangement, rent and all, and Mom should not take advantage of her position to intrude on their privacy. But you are right about one thing — they should take steps to find their own place as soon as possible.
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 4.1.08