Dear Annie: My boyfriend lives with a woman who gave birth to his child. He says it is not a romantic arrangement. She wanted to get pregnant, and he provided the genetic material. He sleeps on the sofa.
My issue is, when he wants to spend time with this child, the mother must always be present. She also isn’t aware that he is dating me, and we’ve been together for two years. He is divorced, and his ex-wife and other children don’t know about this child. He expects me to keep his secret, stay away from the birth mother and be fine with all of this – even when overnight trips are planned.
I will never be fine with this. He says I should trust him. But, Annie, I just can’t wrap my head around why I should blindly accept this. Am I wrong? — Third Wheel
Dear Third: Your boyfriend is juggling three separate lives: one with you, one with his ex-wife and children, and another with his “secret” child and the biological mother. We can think of no good reason for this man to be living with another woman unless he has made a commitment to her in addition to his child. He can support the child emotionally and financially without sleeping on her sofa.
It is not your place to inform his ex-wife or his other children about his arrangement. However, we think he is having a romantic relationship with the woman he lives with, and you are his sideline. What you do about that is up to you.
Dear Annie: I am 17 years old, and I have a younger sister who is 13. Her attitude is awful. I have to drive her to school every day, and we always get into fights. She constantly criticizes my driving and puts me down. She also calls me a lot of names and says hurtful things. We even got into a physical fight.
I’ve told my parents that she is rude and I am not inclined to do anything for her. But my parents won’t get involved. They never punish her, and she gets away with everything. In fact, they just bought her a new computer.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t wait until I leave for college and won’t have to deal with her. Is that wrong? What should I do? — Frustrated Sister
Dear Frustrated: We understand that your little sister is driving you nuts. This is not uncommon with younger siblings. We suggest you be the adult. Don’t let her ruffle you. Ignore her barbs and criticisms, which are intended to provoke a response and get your attention. When you need to vent, talk to your school counselor, best friend, favorite teacher or a sympathetic relative. But please remember that when your sister outgrows this immature stage, she could become your closest friend. Hang in there.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Joe’s Buddies for Life,” whose 50-year-old friend is still trying to realize a dream.
I spent my career as a high school guidance counselor. Many times, kids would have plans to play sports in college as a means of paying for their degree. My advice to them was to go to the coach for an honest assessment of their skills.
”Joe” needs to do the same thing. He needs to find someone who can give him a true assessment of his talents in his chosen field. He may need some moral support to face this evaluation. He will not be at all agreeable to considering another career until he faces the reality of his chances for success in his dream career. — That First Step Is a Hard One
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.