Closed doors don’t guarantee privacy from mom

I am 20 years old and still living at home. I’ve just finished paying off my college debt and, with the way the economy is, am not in a position to move out, despite working two jobs.

Dear Annie: I am 20 years old and still living at home. I’ve just finished paying off my college debt and, with the way the economy is, am not in a position to move out, despite working two jobs.

I love my family a lot, but I also appreciate it when they respect my space and privacy.

My father and siblings understand that when my bedroom door is closed, they need to knock before entering.

The problem is my mother. She thinks a closed door is an invitation to barge into my room whenever she feels like it, with no notice whatsoever. I could be changing clothes after a shower, and she walks right in.

I’ve tried talking with her about it, but she gets defensive and accuses me of hiding something. Annie, I am open with my parents, but I am also 20 years old. I don’t tell them everything. I’d certainly like to have private phone conversations.

I began locking my door in the hope that Mom would understand, but now she is threatening to change the locks if I do it again. Since I can’t afford to move out, what can I do? — No Locks

Dear No Locks: Your mother seems so paranoid about your private activities that she is damaging your relationship. Talk to your father, and ask him to intercede. He needs to explain to Mom that when she barges in without knocking, it creates tremendous resentment.

Assure your mother that she is welcome in your room, but it is a sign of respect to knock first. We hope you can move out soon.

Dear Annie: For the past year, I have been involved with “Mr. H.,” who appears to care very little for me.

He started off calling and visiting regularly, but six months into the relationship, he began distancing himself.

Mr. H. never wants to do what I like, refuses to let me come to his home, doesn’t like to be seen with me in the daytime and wants to come to my house after 6:30. He never invites me out or to his family gatherings. At the moment, we speak to each other sporadically, and I don’t know what to say to him. He never expresses his feelings and has stopped doing the things he did when we first met.

He is very private and secretive. I have treated him with kindness and respect, but no longer believe I am the person he wants to be with.

He has been single for 20 years and apparently doesn’t want to give up womanizing. Unfortunately, I’m in love with this man, but he shows no emotion toward me. I feel rejected. Should I continue this one-sided relationship or move on? — Need Advice

Dear Need: You already know the answer. Mr. H could be married or seeing someone else and doesn’t want her to know about you (which means he considers her more important). Love is a two-way street, honey, and any relationship that is completely one-sided is not genuine love. You are infatuated with someone who treats you poorly. You deserve better. Move on.

Dear Annie: “Appreciate the Cleaning Ladies” wonders why she never gets a raise or a holiday bonus. I am sure most of her clients feel she is compensated fairly.

Her clients probably have not received a raise themselves in several years and, in this economy, are being squeezed. I have not received a raise in more than two years, and my husband has taken a cut in pay.

My cleaning lady charges more per hour than I make and always receives a Christmas bonus. My husband and I work long hours, and this is one luxury we feel justified in spending. However, if she were to ask for a raise, we would either have to cut her hours or terminate her services. I would advise her to take each individual client’s situation into account and then talk to them about a raise. — Appreciate my Cleaning Lady

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.