Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Standing My Ground as the Bad Aunt

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My nephew was in the hospital last summer. Because the hospital is closer to our house, his parents and the nephew's 17-year-old girlfriend stayed with us for two nights.

Within a few hours, we noticed $70 was missing from a container on the kitchen counter. We asked if anyone had seen or moved it. That same evening, the girlfriend returned from a shopping trip with a new dress, new shoes and new purse, bragging that her mother had given up her whole paycheck to buy "necessities." The morning she left, we discovered another $100 missing from a different part of the house.

We called my brother-in-law and informed him of the missing money. After much discussion, we agreed that the girl was the likely suspect. Due to the delicate nature of his son's illness, he asked that nothing be said about the theft. He even offered to pay us back, which we refused. The whole incident was then swept under the rug and not mentioned again.

Here's the problem now. We have no intention of welcoming this girl into our home, which means my nephew and his parents will not be coming to Christmas dinner, which we are hosting. Also, when making our Christmas gift list, we usually include girlfriends, but since we've already "gifted" this young lady, I don't wish to buy her anything.

How should we handle the gift exchange (at my brother-in-law's house) given the fact that she will be there? -- Standing My Ground as the Bad Aunt

Dear Aunt: We're not saying this girl should be let off the hook, but you have no actual proof that she stole the money. More importantly, you promised your brother-in-law not to let on, yet your subsequent choices are spilling the beans. Their relationship could go on a long time. How will you answer your nephew when he asks why the girl can't come to your home and why she never gets a Christmas gift?

If you aren't willing to lock up the house treasures in order to have the girl over for a family dinner, fine. But the Christmas gift is easily solved. Get her something small and inexpensive so her exclusion isn't so obvious.


Dear Annie: How old do men have to be to quit having sex? My husband is 82, and I am 80, and the only thing on his mind is having sex two to three times a week. I have lost all my desire for sex. I've grown to hate it. He says women don't lose their desire and I must have something wrong with me. I say he is oversexed. He watches porn and reads sex magazines. This is the only thing we argue about. Is he oversexed, or am I abnormal? -- Lost All My Desire in Chicago

Dear Chicago: Neither. Some men never lose their desire, but it is quite common (and natural) for women to lose interest in sex after menopause. The problem is not only that you have incompatible sexual needs. It's how the two of you are handling the issue. Your husband's demands are excessive for you, and his harebrained ideas about a woman's libido are guaranteed to make you angry and unwilling. Ask him to come to your next doctor's appointment and discuss this, and see if you can reach a compromise that takes both your needs into account.

Dear Annie: Tell "Beleaguered Mom" it is not Grandma's job to babysit. It is Grandma's job to develop a relationship with her grandson that is special to the two of them. Being a grandmother should not be work. Since when did we assume grandparents should be fill-in parents in order to make life more enjoyable for the children we already raised? -- Grandma in Pennsylvania


"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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