Dear Annie: I met “William” at work three years ago, and it was obvious he had feelings for me.
I felt no attraction and turned down his advances, but as soon as I left that job, he began calling me several times a day.
At first I ignored the calls, but every once in a while I would answer and tell him to leave me alone. He would say he loved me and wanted a relationship.
Then he said if I refused to give him a chance, he would end his life. I’m ashamed to say, I was so annoyed that I said I didn’t care. Then I blocked his phone number.
The calls stopped for about six months, but started up again and this time included texts. I blocked that number, as well, and he was quiet for about a year. Recently, he began texting me again from a new phone number, but this time he just said, “Hello, how are you?” Being an idiot, I wrote back that I was fine and asked how he was. By then I had moved to another state, but he somehow found out and sent me a very uncomfortable message asking what I would think if he showed up here, a good 1,000 miles away.
This scared me, and I told him to stop it immediately, that he was being a creepy stalker and to leave me alone. He called me some vulgar names and said he was just in love. I never replied.
Now he keeps texting. How do I make him stop? I can’t change my phone number because it’s the only way people have to contact me. — Creeped Out in Wyoming
Dear Creeped Out: There are anti-stalking laws in most states that cover “textual harassment.” Since you have notified William that you want him to stop contacting you and he keeps texting, notify the police and your cellphone company. Keep a record of his messages, but do not contact him again for any reason.
Dear Annie: I live 15 minutes away from my in-laws and see them often with my wife and children. The problem is, when my own family visits from across the country, my in-laws feel they should be included in the festivities and become offended if we neglect to invite them to anything.
I have tried to explain that time with my family is precious. I want my daughters to get to know my parents better. I can’t seem to make my in-laws understand I’d like some space when my family visits, and I am beginning to resent their selfishness. We spend the majority of holidays with my in-laws, and my parents never complain. The situation seems to get worse every year. Is it asking too much for my parents to get some private time? — D.
Dear D.: Of course not, but you have to be firm and your wife has to support you. The next time your parents are scheduled to visit, your wife should make it clear to her parents that they are not to horn in on her in-laws’ time with you or the children. You should invite them to share one event, but that’s it. If they get offended, it’s their problem. Don’t let them guilt you into capitulating.
Dear Annie: “Desperate in Pennsylvania” asked about a click in her throat. She may want to get a CT scan to rule out Eagle’s syndrome, where an elongated part of the temporal bone of the skull contacts the adjacent anatomical structures.
Patients usually exhibit unilateral neck pain, sore throat or tinnitus (ringing or clicking in the ears). Sometimes the physician can palpate the tip of the styloid process in the back of the throat. If she is diagnosed with Eagle’s syndrome, treatment is a surgical procedure called a partial styloidectomy. Hope this helps. — Dentist in Hawaii
Dear Hawaii: Thanks for the suggestion. We hope “Pennsylvania” will check out all the possibilities.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.