Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Unwilling Sister

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My brother and "Melanie" had a baby together (unplanned). The boy is now 2 years old. Melanie moved in with my brother before the baby arrived and stayed until two months ago. She was never overly kind to my brother, frequently making insulting remarks to him and saying she could never love him or the baby. But he truly was in love with her. We bent over backward to make her part of our family, but she decided to walk out on him and sever all family ties.

They have shared custody of the child, and my brother will have him for Christmas. My husband and I are hosting the family meal this year. We did not plan on having Melanie, but my brother wants to include her. I told him she was not invited, but he insists, saying she is the mother of his child.

Melanie has never enjoyed being in my home. She is bitter and rude and lacks even the basic manners of a person her age (40). Should I refuse to include her, or do I allow my brother to invite this woman and make the day miserable for everyone else? -- Unwilling Sister

Dear Sister: Melanie is going to be in your brother's life forever because she is the mother of his child. She is part of the family whether she wants to be or not, and family members sometimes have to put up with one another at holidays. Please be the bigger person for your brother's sake, and invite Melanie for dinner. If you're lucky, she won't come.

Dear Annie: Recently, the small business that employs me chose to create a web page featuring the owners of the business and what we have to offer. I think websites are a great way to advertise and encourage new business. The problem is, the web page shows photos of the staff.

Due to the nature of my work, which includes bad debt and collection calls, I objected to them using my image. Aside from being a personal privacy issue, it's also a safety issue for me. I wasn't given a choice about the use of my picture, and when I mentioned my concerns, I was told that I wasn't being cooperative.

I am in a management position and always try to set good examples of teamwork, but I thought this was irresponsible. How should I have handled it? -- Indiana


Dear Indiana: Privacy issues seem to be a thing of the past, particularly when the company of which you are part is promoting its services online. However, your company has put itself at risk for a lawsuit should anything happen to you as a result of your photograph being on the website. This is the argument you should have made, calmly and rationally, framing it as an effort to protect the business. Those in charge would have been more responsive.

Dear Annie: You printed a letter from "Neglected," who complained that her husband of many years was no longer interested in sex, although he had been earlier in their marriage. You said it could be a hormone deficiency or an affair.

I would like to offer another possibility. I was married to my ex-wife for 29 years. My interest in sex began to wane almost immediately after marriage. The last 10 years together, we had no sex at all. I was not cheating. And my hormones were fine. The problem was, I am gay.

I was raised in a time and place where coming out was not an option. I was advised by my clergy to ignore my feelings and they would go away. They did not, but my very limited ability to have sex with my wife did go away. So, perhaps Neglected's husband is gay and can't find the courage to say so. -- J


"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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