Dear Annie: I am a divorced father and have raised two children alone for the past six years. The kids are now 19 and 16.
The problem is chores.
My son takes out the garbage, feeds the cat, shovels snow in the winter and cuts the grass in the summer. He also brings in the groceries and sets the table.
My 19-year-old daughter, however, is reluctant to even wash a dish. She considers such things to be punishment.
There are times when I don’t get home until after 8:00 p.m. and still have to cook dinner.
I pay my daughter’s tuition bill for college, and when she needs a laptop, she gets it.
Yet, if I ask her to sweep the floors, you’d think I wanted the moon.
She says she doesn’t have time, but if I walk into her bedroom, she’s on Facebook with her friends.
I really don’t think 20 minutes a day is too much to ask for providing a roof over her head and food on the table. Other than this, we have a great relationship.
Both kids are respectful, polite and funny and make it easier for me to work because they can take care of themselves.
Ours is the house where everyone “hangs out,” and I’m fine with that. Talking to my daughter does nothing but create stress for everyone involved. Any suggestions? — Frustrated Dad
Dear Dad: Try allowing your daughter to be part of the process.
Have a family conference, and calmly explain that maintaining the household is a joint effort and requires everyone’s participation.
Make a list of chores, and ask your children to divide them with you so that no one is overly burdened. If she still refuses to cooperate, you have other choices.
You can tie her tuition and other expenses to what she does around the house, you can tell her she has to get a job and pay rent, or you can ask her to move out. Living independently can often ward off problems at home.
Dear Annie: I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 18 months. Recently, I was caught off guard. I was at my cousin’s house watching a movie.
She left the room for a few minutes, and while she was gone, her phone buzzed with a text message from my boyfriend’s number. He asked if he could see her again because he “had a great time the other night.”
Should I confront them, or should I stop jumping to conclusions and wait to see the outcome? — Not Sure What To Think
Dear Not Sure: Oh, let’s not wait. It’s possible someone else was texting from your boyfriend’s phone, or there could be an innocent explanation for their evening together, but you have a right to know what’s going on.
Dear Annie: Your column on vaginal dryness came 20 years too late for my wife, rest her wonderful soul, who passed away three years ago. During the last 18 years, we slept in separate bedrooms. We still loved each other, but it could have been so much more fulfilling.
She suffered from vaginal dryness, but was extremely prudish and inhibited and never mentioned this to her physician.
We both were old-fashioned, and in those days, things were not as openly discussed as they are today. Had they been, we might have had many more years of bliss. I could have resorted to porn movies, but that is only another killer of happy, satisfying marital relations.
I hope other couples in situations like mine read that interesting column and learned from it. — California
Dear California: We are always impressed with the advice and comfort that come from our readers. We are sorry it was too late for your wife, but we know it will help someone else.
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