Dear Annie: I dated “Carol” for more than eight years. I loved her and wanted to marry her. The problem was her children (now aged 37 and 42), who have not grown up to be mature adults. Carol knew from the beginning that if we ever broke up, it would be because of them.
I spent every weekend with her. The kids had a tendency to go through my personal belongings when we were on a date and when we slept. I had to hide my checkbook, wallet, truck and house keys.
Her kids still live there and put forth zero effort to make it on their own. They have no interest in facing the realities of life and simply sponge off their mother. They don’t realize that when Mom passes away (one of these days), they will have to face what they’ve been avoiding for years.
Her kids are nothing more than liars and thieves. I loved Carol very much, and they destroyed our relationship. I am hoping she will see my letter. — Anonymous
Dear Anonymous: We hope you realize that it is Carol who bears most of the responsibility for permitting this behavior from her children. If she truly wanted them out of the house, they would be out. Parents do a grave disservice to their children when they encourage such dependence. It is both selfish and lazy parenting. And Carol’s children seem particularly untrustworthy, as well.
Yes, they will have difficulty when she can no longer provide for them, but we worry about what could happen to Carol should she become ill or infirm. Those kids are unlikely to put their mother’s welfare above their own interests. We recommend you give her the number for Adult Protective Services in your state (neac.aoa.gov or call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116). She may need it someday.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are very social and have several groups of friends. Lately, one of these friends has started to make every get-together a potluck. Even for special occasions such as birthdays, the hostess asks each guest to bring a food item. Many times, she actually assigns dishes.
I’m starting to dread these invitations. What happened to throwing a party and providing refreshments for your guests? Or at least waiting for your guest to offer? Most of these friends are in their 50s and 60s, and most live quite comfortably, so it’s not as if they cannot afford to host. I know I have the option of not accepting the invitations, but we enjoy the company, and I hate to miss the social activity. Am I being a scrooge, or is this trend rather tacky? — Fed Up with Potluck
Dear Fed Up: Yes, it is tacky to “host” a party and expect others to provide the refreshments, unless this is agreed upon in advance. However, your friends’ financial situation may be less rosy than you think, and one way to hide this while still entertaining friends is to make everything potluck. If you enjoy these get-togethers, you may as well play along, although you might offer a dish you actually want to bring.
Dear Annie: I’d like to say one more word in favor of adult children calling their parents daily. One size does not fit all.
Three years ago, I found out I have terminal cancer, and at about the same time, my husband left me after 31 years of marriage. After my husband left, my father, for whom I’d been caregiver for four years, passed away.
My adult daughter lives in the same city, and we speak daily. My married adult son lives about 1,000 miles away, and we speak, text or email every few days. My daughter’s daily calls became my saving grace. Without our conversations and constant closeness, I may not have had the drive to battle my disease and continue on as I have. — Jacksonville, Fla.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.