Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Lost in Love

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I have been with "Jim" for eight years. We are in our 40s and have been through a lot together. When I moved in with him three years ago, two of his kids lived with their mother, and the older boy was in prison. I was supportive of Jim's visits to "Lloyd" and also wrote letters myself.

Lloyd got out of prison 18 months ago and was paroled to our home. He is not supposed to frequent bars, but his drinking has increased, and he constantly violates the terms of his parole. Two months ago, he was arrested for public intoxication and spent the weekend in jail. He had to wear an ankle monitor for 30 days.

Lloyd refuses to abide by our curfew. He wakes us up when he strolls in drunk at 3 a.m. Twice he left the refrigerator open and let the food spoil. He has kicked in our front door and broken numerous things, and now items have been disappearing.

We've given Lloyd chance after chance. We pay all of his bills, including the one for his cellphone service. I've told Jim that Lloyd needs to respect our rules or find somewhere else to live. Jim keeps telling Lloyd to straighten up, but there are never any repercussions, so it never happens. I'm exhausted and can't take much more. I don't want to ruin my relationship with Jim. How do I proceed from here? -- Lost in Love

Dear Lost: Jim thinks he is protecting his son, but unfortunately, he is only reinforcing Lloyd's irresponsible behavior. The best thing for Lloyd would be to get a job (try the Safer Foundation at and move into his own place. However, you won't be able to encourage Lloyd's independence without Jim's support, so joint counseling is a good place to start. Also try Al-Anon ( for additional help.

Dear Annie: I'm a 62-year-old widow and have no children. In the past three years, five people close to me died, leaving me alone except for two nieces and one nephew, and none of them is speaking to me.

When my husband passed, we had no money due to longstanding financial problems. Before my sister died, we were trying to work through her feelings about me. She never liked me and had a great deal of anger toward me. At the time, I was still having financial difficulties and could not attend her funeral or send flowers. My nephew offered to pay for the trip, but I didn't feel comfortable accepting. I know I should have called, but I didn't know what to say. By the time my mother died, my sister's kids had pretty much ruled me out.


I have written letters to them explaining the problems in our family. I have sent handmade presents to my nephew's two little girls and mailed cheerful Christmas greetings, all to no avail. No thank-you notes. Nothing.

I realize they may have "inherited" their mother's feelings toward me, but I'm at the point where I'm ready to give up all contact. Is this the end? -- No Family

Dear Family: We think your nieces and nephew are unhappy because you neither called nor sent a card when their mother died. We understand you were unsure of what to say, but your silence reinforced the negative impression they already had from their mother. You need to apologize. Beyond that, there are no guarantees. Please look for "family" among your friends.

Dear Annie: "Sad Wife" is unhappy that her husband won't look for anything better than his minimum-wage job. She has to put her child in day care so she can provide for her family. If she has to be "Mrs. Career," he should be "Mr. Mom." But right now, he has the best of both worlds. I bet if she ditches the day care and tells him to stay home, raise the baby and take care of the house, he'll find a better job. -- Louisville Lady


"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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