Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Home Alone

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am 23 years old and have been dating "Tom" for two years. He works in a demanding job that requires an extensive amount of travel. He's away almost six months of the year.

When Tom isn't traveling, he's with me during the week, but spends most weekends going places with his fraternity or visiting his parents. This means for the six months he's in town, I get perhaps one weekend.

We are saving for a house, and Tom's constant recreational travel is cutting into our budget. I want our couple time back, as well as time to take care of things at home. I've suggested compromises (such as two weekends away and two weekends home), but things always come up that he "has to do." Two months ago, I was let go from my job. That same afternoon, Tom left on a trip with friends that could have easily been cancelled. I can't use those same weekends to visit my family because they are too far away, so I spend a lot of time sitting home alone.

I know nothing unsavory is going on. Tom is a wonderful guy. I have no intention of leaving him. I knew when we met that his job would require a lot of travel, but these personal weekends are difficult for me. I know he hates being inactive or staying home, but it seems excessive. How can we come up with a workable solution? -- Home Alone

Dear Home: Tom thinks he already has a workable solution and has no incentive to compromise. After all, he sees you all week. Right now, his schedule is a minor hardship for you, but if you marry and have children, it will be a major problem. You'll have to revisit this issue then.

Meanwhile, we are never in favor of sitting home alone moping. Please find things to occupy yourself during the weekends when Tom is absent. Look for part-time work. Take classes to bone up on your skills. Go biking. Accompany him when he visits his family, and get to know them better.

Dear Annie: My son is getting married in November in his fiancee's hometown. My son says his fiancee has selected the place for the rehearsal dinner. She also wants to invite not just the wedding party, but everyone who will be in town for the wedding.

I have not been consulted about the plans, and have expressed my concerns to my son regarding the cost of the dinner. I am on a fixed income. My son says his fiancee's parents have offered to pay for whatever I can't afford. He also says he's learned to pick his battles and will not argue with his bride about the dinner plans, as she wants it to be a memorable celebration.


How do I handle the situation? -- Mother of the Groom

Dear Mom: Your future daughter-in-law has usurped your privilege to host the rehearsal dinner. Determine what you can comfortably afford for this event, and then inform your son that this is what you would have spent had you planned it, and you are happy to give him a check for this amount. If he chooses to have a more elaborate affair, someone else will have to cover the additional cost.

Dear Annie: You gave good advice to "Donny," who wants to be closer to his grandparents. I am blessed with 11 grandchildren and love them dearly. As they have aged, however, they have become more distant, and I'm lucky to get a grunt from them. They give me little reason to seek them out. It seems to be the norm with the onset of texting and social media. Communication is a lot different with our generation.

I have given up pursuing my older grandchildren, but would be elated to have them show that they cared about a relationship. But they have to do their part. -- Cal in Maine


"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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