Annie's Mailbox: Not a Vacation
Dear Annie: I am wondering whether my husband has OCD. Once he uses something, he cannot put it away. If he takes out a screwdriver, it stays on the counter. If he opens a package, the packaging sits until I throw it away. Every day he leaves an empty soda can on the coffee table. If he opens a cabinet, the door remains open. At the moment, there are four pairs of rubber boots at our back entry.
He honestly doesn't see that any of this is a problem, and if I approach him about it, he becomes violently angry. He constantly accumulates little piles of coins and receipts on his bedside table until I go through the mess and clean it up. He will wash and fold his laundry, but then leaves it stacked in the laundry room.
I'm pretty sure he has some hoarding behavior, but leaving the cabinet and closet doors open only makes it worse for me. What can I do? -- Frustrated Wife
Dear Frustrated: People who leave projects unfinished and don't follow through with putting things away often have adult ADD (not OCD). Still, we wouldn't be too quick to label him. He may simply be lazy and thoughtless. Behavior modification and reminders to close those cabinet doors could help with some of this.
We are more concerned with his violently angry reaction when you bring up the subject. If he does this frequently and you are afraid of him, please call the Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE. If this only happens when you mention this specific behavior, he may actually fear that he has some terrible affliction that he cannot control. Please reassure him, and suggest he ask his doctor to test him for adult ADD.
Dear Annie: I could not believe your response to Want It to Stop, whose brother separated from his wife, "Sherrie," and she seems to be stalking him.
Sherrie has three children under the age of 5. Considering the possibility of postpartum depression and the stress of raising all those little girls, I can only say we should pray for this poor woman and her children. "Want" said her brother isn't blameless. Maybe he is a major creep, irresponsible and a cheater. His family should not be excusing his behavior. He should be taking care of this woman, who, after all, is still his wife. If she needs medical care, he should help pay for it.
I am sick of these so-called men who go around planting seeds and then think they can flit around like single men. He needs to grow up. Please revise your response. -- K.
Dear K.: No, but we will clarify. Right or wrong, you cannot force an irresponsible childish man to grow up. You can only make sure he pays child support and fulfills his legal obligations. Sherrie may have postpartum depression, or she may be overwhelmed by childrearing. We said she needs professional help, and we hope she gets it.
But even if she is suffering, our concern is that she is punishing the children. The brother may be a total creep and a cheater (we don't know), but Sherrie is tormenting her kids and making them emotional wrecks. Before anyone can help Sherrie, those kids must be protected and removed from the dangerous environment she is creating.
Dear Annie: Getting It Off My Chest complained that family never visits her. My parents moved across the country several years ago and now live in a beautiful location. While I love them, I do not want to (a) spend my precious vacation time going there every year, or (b) spend my entire vacation feeling obligated to do things together. It's exhausting.
Traveling to visit family members who have moved away is, quite frankly, a chore. -- Not a Vacation
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.