Dear Annie: When I married “Joe” three years ago, I moved into his home with my preteen daughter. Joe has two older children and a teenage son. I agreed that the youngest son would stay with us during the week and live at his mother’s on the weekends. Since then, however, his teenage son has decided to stay with his mother, which is fine. However, now the older son and daughter are living with us.
Joe’s daughter has stolen my daughter’s clothes and personal belongings. She denies it, and Joe believes her, even though it was obvious that she went through my daughter’s things while we were out of the house.
His son is married with a toddler and twins on the way. He cannot keep a job, does drugs and was evicted from their apartment. His family moved in with us three months ago. His wife is due any day. She will go to her mother’s when the babies are born, but her mother doesn’t like my stepson, so he has to stay here. He refuses to get a job and expects his father to pay for everything.
Annie, this is causing a huge strain on our marriage and is affecting my health. I have tried talking to Joe, but he says, “I can’t throw my son out to live on the street.” I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate this rude young adult man who refuses to follow our house rules. Any suggestions? — Not What I Agreed To
Dear Not: We understand how difficult it is to throw your kids out when they have no means of support, but this is unfair to you and everyone else. Joe’s kids will never learn to stand on their own if they rely on Dad to pay their way through life. Tell Joe that the situation is untenable and you want him to come with you for counseling. Go alone if you must. You have some major decisions to make.
Dear Annie: I am a 20-year-old guy. I have few friends, and girls barely speak to me. They certainly don’t give me a chance to take them out. I am a nice guy with a big heart, and I care about people. I will treat a girl with respect.
Where can people my age hang out to meet each other? It seems there are no activities for our age group. I am too young for nightclubs, and the church groups in my area are for teenagers. There are no places to go dancing or mingle with others just to hang out and listen to a DJ or a band. Any suggestions? — Venting
Dear Venting: Look for all-ages music venues, and keep in mind that some clubs do allow underage young adults and place a stamp or wristband to indicate “no liquor.” If there is a college in your area, you can audit a class and check what activities are going on. There may be no restrictions on attending even if you aren’t a student. You also could sign up for a weekend or evening class at the park district, as long as it’s something that truly interests you. If you like a particular band (or artist or TV show), you might find others online who share your enthusiasm. Also, look for friends at your job, and please don’t exclude older workers who may have kids your age. We’re sure our readers will have other suggestions for us to pass along.
Dear Annie: There is one route you didn’t mention for “Not Anti-Social or Addicted to the Internet,” the 56-year-old man who wants friends.
Many churches (such as ours) have men’s groups, gatherings, breakfasts and service projects (such as Habitat for Humanity, mission trips, etc.) that would love to have more manpower. It is a great way to find friendships and a sense of purpose, and it has eternal benefits besides. — Thankful Wife of a Fulfilled Husband
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. 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.