Son a recluse

Dear Annie: My 26-year-old son graduated two years ago from a terrific university. During college, he lived on his own and had a girlfriend, but just before graduation, they broke up.

Dear Annie: My 26-year-old son graduated two years ago from a terrific university.

During college, he lived on his own and had a girlfriend, but just before graduation, they broke up. My son had a hard time coping, and when he graduated, he came back to live at home.

In those two years, he hasn’t applied for any jobs. When I arranged a few interviews for him, he didn’t do well. I believe he suffers from severe anxiety and gets nervous when meeting people, especially older men who tend to be the ones interviewing him.

I have begged him to get counselling, but he insists there is nothing wrong. He stays in his room all day and only comes out for dinner. His friends have moved on with their lives, and he barely speaks to any of them.

I have talked to him and even threatened to kick him out, but I can’t follow through. Where would he go? Please help me find a way to get him to face the world. — Worried Mom

Dear Worried: Your son seems depressed and lethargic. Tell him counselling is a condition for remaining in the house. You will have to do a little enabling to start. Ask your physician for a counselling referral, call to explain the problem and make an appointment, and then be sure your son keeps it, even if that means driving him there and escorting him inside. Beyond that, however, he must take responsibility for his own recovery, which may include medication. Also look into help for yourself. You may need to follow through on your threat to toss him out, and you might need some support to do it.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for slightly more than a year. How do I handle the constant stream of questions from family and friends wondering when we’re going to have a baby?

I have had two miscarriages and simply don’t know how to respond. Do I tell them the truth, which is very painful?

How can I get them to stop asking every time they see me? I know they mean well, but this seems like a rather personal question. Just because a couple has no children doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. — New Bride in the Midwest

Dear Bride: We are continually amazed that nosy people think someone else’s fertility is their business. You are not obligated to respond to these questions. You can politely ask, “Why do you need to know?”

But a reader once wrote that she used to be that kind of nosy person until a friend replied that she was trying desperately to get pregnant and it was too painful to discuss.

That was the response that finally made her stop asking.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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