Dear Annie: My husband and I have a 20-year-old daughter, “Brianna.” We pay for her private college tuition, as well as all of her expenses.
In August, Brianna was invited for a weeklong trip to Hawaii with her boyfriend’s family. She decided to go without discussing it with us. We had made plans to get her a new apartment that week so she could move in prior to classes starting, and she totally blew us off.
I am so hurt by this. It seems disrespectful to us and to the commitment she has as a daughter. I have communicated very little with her since she left for school. How can I let her know this behavior is unacceptable? I am also disappointed in her boyfriend, who has known us long enough to be more sensitive to our family. What should I do? — A Mom
Dear Mom: Yes, it was rude that Brianna did not discuss the change in plans with you, but she is trying to assert her independence, and we recommend you let her. That means she should make more of her own decisions, and you need to stop paying for them. If Brianna receives a free trip to Hawaii and blows off apartment hunting, let her handle her own living arrangements. Don’t do it for her or fret that she won’t have a place to live. She’ll manage. Let her find a part-time job to pay for things you don’t want to finance. Help her become a responsible, mature adult instead of a dependent child. You’ll be grateful later.
Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Charlie” for 35 years. He is now semi-retired and works an afternoon shift three days a week. He wakes up minutes before going to work and comes home an hour before my bedtime. On his days off, he sleeps until dinnertime. He says there is no reason to get up during the day.
I have tried staying up later, but I get too sleepy. I am in my 50s now, and the kids have left the nest. I’ve made lots of friends who are available during the day, but I don’t want to keep living this way. I miss my husband. Charlie and I have been to counseling numerous times, but it hasn’t changed anything. What do I do? — Lonely in Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: Charlie would rather sleep late than spend time with you. It could be that he’s avoiding you, is depressed or that his internal clock is simply set later. You could try to change your sleep habits to match his, waking up later so you aren’t too tired to stay up until the wee hours.
Counseling helps only if both parties agree to work on what needs to be changed. If Charlie won’t address this, you can get counseling on your own and decide whether you will put up with the current situation in order to stay married. If you opt to stick around, adjust your attitude so that your focus is not on Charlie and his sleep habits, but on whatever makes you happy when you’re awake.
Dear Annie: I am writing about the letter from “His Mom,” whose 15-year-old son is having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend. They wanted to know who is responsible for paying for the girl’s birth control pills.
As the mother of a 15-year-old boy, I’d like to say that what I loved about this letter is that both kids had talked to their parents about having sex. That is amazing and says a lot about both sets of parents. Kudos to them. Here’s my simple response: I think the boy should pay for condoms that he assiduously wears, and the girl should pay for her birth control pills. It provides double protection for pregnancy and the added benefit of STD protection. — Jen from Connecticut
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.