Dear Annie: My stepson, “Louis,” is 45 years old, has been unemployed for the past 10 years (he never gets along with his bosses or co-workers) and got busted for DUI, for which he underwent court-appointed treatment and had his license revoked for five years. When his dad and I married, we moved into my home, and Louis moved into his father’s place with the stipulation that he would get a job and pay rent and utilities. We are still paying the mortgage and taxes. Louis moved his girlfriend (now wife) into the house. She works full time.
Annie, my husband still pays all of Louis’ bills, including the cable movies Louis buys online. Louis feels entitled to this. When he found out we were selling our old car and didn’t give it to him, he went on a raging tirade and started throwing stuff. I almost called the police.
My husband has discussed the situation with Louis many times, but no money is forthcoming. I don’t understand why his wife doesn’t help pay the bills. When I bring up kicking him out or putting a For Sale sign in front of the house, my husband agrees something should be done, but generally gets angry with me and gives Louis a free pass. I know he feels bad about Louis’ lack of ambition and self-centered behavior, but he won’t do anything.
In another year, we will have paid off that house. My husband and I are in our late 70s, and he is not in the best of health. If he should die, I don’t know what happens to the house. What legal recourse do I have? I refuse to pay the freeloaders’ way through life. — Upset Landlord, Not Wicked Stepmother
Dear Upset: Is your name on the deed to the house? Do you and your husband have legal wills? Who is your husband’s beneficiary? Please seek legal advice immediately, and make sure things are settled the way you want. In the meantime, we hope you can impress upon your husband that Louis will someday have to fend for himself, and the longer he postpones growing up the harder it will be. Dad is doing him no favors.
Dear Annie: Seven years ago, my husband walked out on our 9-month-old son and me. He’s been mostly out of the picture since. For the past four years, there has been no contact from him whatsoever.
Throughout all this time, his brother has kept in touch through texts and occasional visits. Lately, there seems to be a spark when we are together. I know his family would approve. When my ex and I separated, his mom told me she thought I was a better match for her other son. Is it wrong to have a relationship with my ex’s brother? — Confused
Dear Confused: There is no reason why you cannot have a relationship with your ex-brother-in-law if you are willing to deal with whatever consequences occur as a result. Would it mean more contact with your ex? Would that be difficult? Tempting? Would your ex try to punish you in some way? If you can handle the fallout, it’s fine with us.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Sick of Xenophobes,” who says she speaks excellent English and wants to know why people are rude to her.
I agree with you that her accent might be difficult to understand. I run into this problem at least once a week and have to ask the person to slow down and speak more clearly. It’s especially difficult when they are reading from a script and I interrupt for clarification, and they apologize repeatedly. I’d rather they skip the apologies and get to the point. All that blather is annoying to listen to.
Maybe better headsets would help. — Just a Thought
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.