Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Engaged but Having Second Thoughts

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am engaged to a man who was divorced 20 years ago. He has three grown sons. The first two are doing well, but the third is still not financially responsible at the age of 30. His father has to pay off his automobile and credit cards. My fiance also helps out his siblings, who seem to be quite irresponsible and alcoholic.

I come from a large family, and we each were told that at age 21, we were on our own. We all obtained professional degrees and now help our parents.

At what age does a parent allow a child to grow up and become responsible? It appears to me that my future will be forever intertwined with relatives who are begging us for money. My fiance won't discuss this matter with me. What should I do? -- Engaged but Having Second Thoughts

Dear Engaged: Children should be encouraged to support themselves as soon as they are finished with their education. Those who go on to obtain advanced degrees should find some type of part-time job or take out student loans. It is OK to help a child with temporary financial difficulties, but not to the extent that the child becomes dependent on the parents.

Once you marry, decisions about money should be made jointly. If your future husband will not discuss these things with you now, he is not likely to consult you later. You are smart to recognize the problem. We recommend premarital counseling.

Dear Annie: My granddaughter is getting married in September. After 31 years of marriage, her parents were divorced nine years ago (his infidelity) in a nasty battle over money.

Her father, who remarried two years ago, insists that his new wife's name be on the wedding invitation. This suggests she raised my granddaughter, which she didn't. My granddaughter is distraught over this.

I've checked the etiquette books, and in case of divorce, the bride's mother's name and father's name should be on separate lines inviting guests to attend the wedding. The father's new wife doesn't appear anywhere. I believe my ex-son-in-law is trying to somehow punish my daughter, but he is actually hurting his own child. My daughter told my granddaughter that if Dad will not relent, she should have the invitations go out under the names of the bride and groom without mentioning the parents at all.


What is the appropriate thing to do? Is the bride wrong to want only her mother's and father's names on the invitation? -- Maria from Ohio

Dear Maria: If Mom and Dad are sharing the costs of the wedding, both of their names and, yes, those of their spouses should appear on the invitation. If Dad is not contributing, his name need not appear at all. However, many brides want both parents' names on the invitation regardless of who is hosting the event, in which case, the spouses of the parents should be included.

Dear Annie: I'd like to comment on the letter from "Texas," who is concerned that her husband wants to take their kids to visit his parents in Mexico.

I am a single woman, 81 years old, and I lived most of my life in Southern California. When the cost of living got too high, I moved near Tijuana. I still don't speak Spanish, but I never have felt in danger. There are large sections of Tijuana that could be picked up lock, stock and barrel and set down in the middle of Santa Monica and be right at home. I don't go into the questionable parts of town, but then, there are a lot of places in Los Angeles where I wouldn't go, either.

The wife should visit her in-laws and see their environment for herself before doing anything drastic. -- Not Afraid in Mexico


"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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