Dear Annie: I am in my late 40s with grandchildren of my own.
The problem is my mother. She has lived with a pedophile for the past 42 years. This man abused my sister and me, and my mother did nothing to stop it. Later on, we forgave him because those are the religious values we were raised with. He then went on to abuse my nephew.
I tried to have a relationship with my mother apart from her husband, but she kept shoving him down my throat. So I cut her out of my life because I didn’t want this twisted man to spread his poison to my children and grandchildren. Now she tells me he has become “born again” and is a changed man.
The success rate of curing pedophilia is abysmally low. My sister, the one whose son was abused, says I am too harsh and should forgive him. I refuse. I will not be responsible for his next victim. My mother enables him. I say he has tried to destroy two generations of our family and someone has to take a stand. What do you think? – Tired of the Dysfunction
Dear Tired: We’re wondering why no one has reported this man to the police. Finding religion is hardly a guarantee that his pedophilia is “cured,” and forgiving someone does not mean you have to subject your grandchildren to abuse. You absolutely must keep this man at a safe distance, and if that means your mother chooses not to be part of your life, so be it.
Dear Annie: I am a 48-year-old male. I have always been attracted to women, but have never had a girlfriend, been on a date or even kissed a girl. No woman has ever approached me in any situation.
I worry that I will die without ever knowing one of life’s greatest pleasures.
I have talked to different people about this, and they all say maybe it’s not meant to be. But this only makes me feel sad and lonely. I admit my income is not much, but I am a nice person. That doesn’t seem to be what women are looking for. What can I do? – Depressed in Ohio
Dear Ohio: A “nice person” is exactly what some women are looking for, so either you are attracted to inappropriate women, or you aren’t projecting enough personality to get your niceness across. And we’ll be frank – at 48, your total lack of experience with women can make them assume you are asexual (or gay), or they may believe something is wrong with you. It makes finding someone more complicated, but it is not an insurmountable problem.
Women are attracted to intelligence, humor and confidence. Since your friends can’t seem to pinpoint the problem, the next step is counseling. Please try it to see whether it helps bring your personality to the fore.
Dear Annie: I could have written the letter from “Bad Daughter-in-Law.” My husband’s two brothers have always been in and out of trouble with the law, their creditors and their wives. They used to come to us for money when they needed it, and my mother-in-law was always chiming in with, “Poor Danny this” or “Poor Terry that.” They tried to make us feel guilty because we were responsible with our money.
My terrific husband handled his family wisely. He listened to their troubles, expressed sympathy and then kept repeating, “I’m really sorry for your troubles, but I have five children and only one income. I have a duty to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, so I won’t be able to help you right now.”
After a few years of this, they finally quit calling. Danny moved out of state and got a job, while Terry decided he liked the prison life, so we don’t have to worry about him coming around anymore. – Sister-in-Law
Dear Sister-in-Law: Your husband sounds like a smart man.
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.