Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Heartbroken Mom

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: After 26 years of marriage, my husband and I divorced two years ago. The problem is that he also has divorced our children and grandchildren.

Our youngest child still lives with me. In the divorce, my ex wanted no structured visitation with our son. He asked that it be left open so he could see him at his convenience. Unfortunately, that means he makes no effort to see him at all. My son must initiate contact or it just doesn't happen. They see each other every two or three weeks.

My ex thinks he is a good father as long as he pays support. How do I make him see that it's more than money? Admittedly, he never spent much time with the kids when we were married, but I thought he would want to keep in closer contact. Our grown children also miss their father. He has seen his grandchildren only four times in two years.

I have tried to encourage a better relationship, but my ex is hostile when I mention it. How do I make him see that he is missing out on the most important things life has to offer? -- Heartbroken Mom

Dear Heartbroken: You cannot force your ex-husband to open his eyes if he doesn't want to. Some day, he likely will be sorry that he has no relationship with his children and grandchildren, but you reap what you sow. We hope your teenage son has other father figures in his life -- uncles, grandparents, family friends -- who can teach him what it means to be a man. His father obviously isn't up to the job.

Dear Annie: I just returned from a medical exam with my new doctor. When the nurse gave me the gown to change into, she threw away the plastic ribbon that ties around my waist and closes the gown. Then the doctor came in and told me he was going to do the pelvic exam first. Before I knew what was happening, the nurse had wrapped her arms around my thighs and was pulling me down the table.

I begged her to stop, which she did. I am perfectly capable of moving my own body. I also asked the doctor to start with the top of my body and then do the pelvic exam. He agreed, and there was no further problem.

Please tell me how I can have the kind of exam that does not leave me feeling like a slab of meat. -- A Human Being in Atlanta


Dear Human Being: Doctors don't know what you want unless you tell them. As soon as you walk into the room, inform the doctor and nurse of your preferences. We are sure they will comply. However, we are appalled that the nurse grabbed your legs. Make it clear that she is not to touch you in such a manner unless you ask for her assistance. If it happens again, we suggest you find another doctor.

Dear Annie: I recently came to town to attend a friend's birthday dinner at a local restaurant. I've known this man for five years, but I didn't know the rest of the people in the group.

His wife was treating him to dinner, and although I asked if I could help pay for his meal, she refused. During dinner, it turned out someone else in the group also was celebrating a birthday. After I paid my bill, one of the other guests told me I owed money for my share of the dinner for the other birthday boy. I explained that I did not know that person and only attended for my friend. Five minutes later, I was again asked to contribute and I declined.

I felt this was rude. What should I have done? -- Not Celebrating

Dear Not: Those who asked you to contribute were apparently unaware that you did not know the other birthday boy. Declining politely was the correct response.


"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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