Dear Annie: I am a 22-year-old single mother. Two weeks ago, I left my boyfriend when he began to be physically abusive in front of our child. We currently are under a court order to have no contact with each other, but I keep in close touch with his parents.
I recently found out that I’m pregnant. Should I tell my ex’s parents so they can inform him? I’m not really sure if I’m going to raise the child myself or give it up for adoption. Right now, I’m not financially able to care for a second child. — Confused Single Mom
Dear Confused: Your ex has the right to know that he has fathered another child, but you do not have to inform him until you have a better handle on what you plan to do. Please discuss all the pros and cons with someone who will help you make the decision that is best for you and your child. We recommend Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org) at 1-800-230-PLAN (1-800-230-7526). They will provide counselling and prenatal care, as well as referrals to adoption agencies if you choose that route.
Dear Annie: When I was mowing our back lawn last week, I noticed that somebody had already mowed part of our swale area, which is on the street behind our house. Our grass is always mowed on a timely basis, so it wasn’t a message that our grass was overgrown. Also, there are vacant lots on both sides of our backyard, and neither of those swale areas had been mowed — just ours.
This was not the first time. When it happened before, I discovered that the mowing was being done by one of the neighbours. We are barely acquainted, so I wrote him a polite letter asking him to please stop mowing our swale. A few days later, he came over and said he meant no harm. We had a short, pleasant conversation and the mowing stopped — until last week.
I am annoyed about the trespassing and concerned about our possible liability if this neighbour hurts someone or damages property. Also, I have not been working for the past several months and am home alone all day. I wonder if this neighbour keeps track of my comings and goings in order to mow while I am out and wouldn’t see him. That scares me a bit.
I think the mowing should be reported to the police in order to have a record in case something goes wrong. My husband says that getting the police involved might make matters worse. He also said that no harm was done and most people would tell me to be grateful this guy saved me some work.
So, should I laugh this off or report it? — Nervous in the Nutmeg State
Dear Connecticut: We suspect your neighbour has a power mower that he likes to use and simultaneously believes he’s doing you a favour. Still, good neighbours respect one another’s boundaries. Since the situation makes you uncomfortable, have your husband speak to the neighbour and make it clear that he is creating a problem, and if he doesn’t cease and desist, you will be forced to report it. If you have a homeowners or neighbourhood association, ask for help in resolving this.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Lonely but Afraid,” the 21-year-old virgin who is afraid to seek out relationships.
She may be more likely to meet someone who would take the time to get to know her if she were to join a church group, or several.
If her church does not have an active social group for young people, she should look around at other churches in the area, especially larger ones. Places of worship are more and more interested in outreach for young people. — Sandy Out East
Dear Sandy: Thank you for mentioning this useful and often overlooked resource.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.