Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Grandmother with Principles

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: Five months ago, I met "Abby" at my job. We have a lot in common and have become close. We flirt with each other. Here's the problem. Abby is 41, and I am 20. She looks and acts much younger.

Abby is in a terrible relationship with her narcissistic soon-to-be ex-husband "Dave." They have two young children. Dave is jealous and domineering and doesn't want a divorce. He has every phone and computer in their household bugged and has had Abby followed and spied on over the years. She uses disposable phones so that he can't listen in on her conversations.

Abby is certain that Dave has cheated on her multiple times, but has no proof. He has turned many members of her family against her by lying that she's been unfaithful. He also holds all the money. Many times Abby has to leave the house at night and sleep in her car. The only way she could have a life after a divorce would be to cut all ties with her children and move away with me. I care deeply for Abby and want to help her. I'd be willing to move out of state with her. What do you think? -- Dead End

Dear End: The age gap is not your biggest problem. It's the fact that you are only 20. You don't have enough life experience to tie yourself to a still-married woman with two young children, an unsupportive family and a husband who sounds abusive and threatening. If Abby had your best interests at heart, she would not lean so heavily on you and put you at risk. You can best help her by encouraging her to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline ( at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).

Dear Annie: Invitations already have gone out for a graduation party for my granddaughter. She lives across the country, and it will cost me $500 to travel there. I do not have a lot of money, but I promised I would give her $500 when she received her high school diploma.

There is now a good chance she won't pass one required subject and will have to go to summer school. Out of embarrassment, her parents are still planning to have the party and not tell anyone that the graduation is not official.

I have written my granddaughter, urging her to work as hard as necessary to pass all of her subjects by the end of the semester. I indicated that if she does not achieve her goals by the first of June, I will not go through the expense of coming to the party. I will, however, give her the promised gift once she gets her diploma.


I'm sure my absence will raise questions and possibly cause resentment from her parents. Do you think I should go through the travel expense and attend the party? -- Grandmother with Principles

Dear Grandmother: If you consider the party to be a celebration of her diploma, rather than of the four years she spent completing high school, you should not go. The parents likely will tell those who question your absence that it was too great an expense or inconvenience. However, if you would feel bad and later question your decision, you may as well attend. Consider the party an "early" graduation celebration, since your generous gift will undoubtedly provide an incentive for her to finish.

Dear Annie: You hit the nail on the head with your advice to "Former Sister." I was in a similar situation with my sister. Although things were not great between us, I chose to accept her as she was. I'm so glad I did, because four years ago, at the age of 46, she was killed in a car accident. My world hasn't been the same since. You never know when someone you love may suddenly be gone from your life forever. -- Still Miss Her


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. 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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