Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Foolish in the South

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am 22 years old and have lived with my 29-year-old boyfriend, "Joey," for three years. Joey had been sick for a long time, and early into our relationship, he got much worse. I dropped out of college and started working 60 hours a week to pay our bills.

Joey's health began improving, and things got better, but he still acted as if he were sick, never lifting a finger. I talked to Joey about his plans for the future, now that we were no longer living day-to-day, and he said he hoped to open his own business. I fully supported him in this and said he should absolutely do it. For a while, Joey seemed serious about the business idea, but then he put it aside.

For the past two years, Joey has been capable of working a full-time job, as long as the job isn't physical. However, he works only one day a week and collects disability. He's applied for exactly one new job in those two years and talks about his dream business all the time, but does nothing to get it off the ground.

I have given everything I have to this relationship, but I'm beginning to think Joey doesn't care about himself or me. He doesn't do much besides play video games, watch TV and spend money. But whenever I think of walking away, I worry that he might have a relapse and it will be my fault.

I love Joey, and I'm grateful he's been given a second chance at life. Shouldn't he want more for himself? My friends say I'm -- Foolish in the South

Dear Foolish: Joey thought he was going to die and planned accordingly. He likely is suffering from depression, not an uncommon side effect of serious illness, and it takes more than a fresh diagnosis to work through it.

You are not responsible for Joey's health or his inertia. Insist that he get some counseling to help him readjust and move forward. If he refuses, or if he shows no improvement after say, six weeks, it's time to pull yourself out of this one-sided relationship. There's no reward for being a martyr.

Dear Annie: I have been divorced for two years and have two young children. My ex sees them twice a month.

Since the divorce, every gift the children receive from my ex and his family has to stay at his house. The kids grow out of the clothes before they cut the tags off. Last year, my ex-mother-in-law made the children return the Christmas stockings she'd made, which had hung on my fireplace for years. She said my ex should have them, even though the kids spend only two days of the holiday season there.


Am I wrong for thinking my children should enjoy these gifts more than just part time? -- Lost in Illinois

Dear Lost: Since your mother-in-law made the stockings, we understand why she wants Dad to have them. And many kids keep a set of toys at each parent's home. It makes sense, however, for clothing to follow them wherever they go. Talk to your ex about a compromise, but please don't make this issue too important. In the larger scheme, it's a minor inconvenience.

Dear Annie: We recently had a 100th birthday party for my husband's mother. My husband took photographs, and all the guests loved them, so he promised to send copies of everything to everybody. After spending untold hours making little notes to each person and spending over $200 at the copy place and at least $100 in postage, not one person bothered to say thanks.

Please remind your readers that this kind of thing takes a lot of time and effort. Thanks for letting me vent. -- Texas

Dear Texas: You're welcome. We hope you feel better now.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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