Life Advice



Annoyed by Neighbor's 'Jokes'

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: Somehow, sometime, it was determined by my family members that since I was living at home after being disabled, that I would be the sibling (out of six) who would be responsible for caring for our parents until their death.

My father passed away about 12 years ago, while Mom is still with us. However, she requires more care than I can give, but my siblings don't see that.

I recently came into funds that would allow me to relocate to Tennessee and an independent living community where I went to college. But my five siblings want me to stay and nurse Mom till the end.

If I can, I'm going. I'm already planning a visit to Tennessee to visit several facilities to make a final decision. I expect pushback from all five siblings, but I am tired of trying to meet other people's expectations. I figure with 800 miles distance, I can finally get away from them.

Is it right to want to be me at 59? -- When Is It My Time?

Dear My Time: If you already know you'll get pushback, why not be proactive and have a conversation with your siblings before the move?

Of course it's not fair for you to be solely responsible for your mother's caretaking, but jetting off without any communication is not quite fair either. Explain to your siblings that you are seizing this opportunity to live in Tennessee, and then start brainstorming a plan for your mother's care. Ideally, the six of you can all chip in; not only would this be the most fair, but it would also give your mother the opportunity to spend time with all of her children.


Dear Annie: We have this wonderfully helpful neighbor who is always willing to help folks in the neighborhood when needed and quite often does. The only problem is he masks his sarcasm and insults as jokes and everyone laughs. This is directed at everyone EVERY TIME we talk with him. Honestly, I'm tired of his insults and don't quite know how to handle him anymore. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. -- Tired of Being Insulted

Dear Tired: If one person says it, 10 think it. I would imagine that your fellow friends and neighbors are also fed up and uncomfortable by these comments.

The next time this man says something rude or off-color, call him out on it. It's possible he doesn't realize how what he thinks are jokes impact those around him. If he continues even after you've confronted him, limit your interactions with him. Perhaps a bit of distance will make him realize the seriousness of his words.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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