Dear Annie: My son is 19 and a freshman in college. His girlfriend is 17 and a junior in high school. They have been dating for almost two years, and their relationship has been very physical from the beginning. Because of diligent observation and minor snooping, my husband and I are convinced they are sexually active.
We have talked many times to our son about personal responsibility and strongly encouraged him to wait to have sex. We care about his girlfriend and are terribly concerned about her getting pregnant at this young age. My question is, should we attempt any kind of communication about this with the girl or her parents, or just MYOB?
— Trying To Be Helpful
Dear Trying: If you are worried about an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease, the person to talk to is your son. Tell him you are aware that he and his girlfriend are probably sexually active. Ask whether he is using protection every single time. He should not leave it up to her. He is an adult now and needs to understand that the decisions he makes have an impact on others. We hope you have an open enough relationship to discuss this frankly and honestly.
Dear Annie: I’m 49. My parents divorced when I was a teenager. My mother’s family was not supportive and for several years had no contact with her. I wrote letters to my aunts and uncles, saying how petty and vile they were to ostracize their own sister in her time of need. My father engaged in nasty actions of his own to hurt us. He also became estranged from his younger brother, and as a result, I lost contact with those cousins.
Throughout time, my mother gained back the support of her family, but I knew my relationship with them had been irreparably harmed. My relationship with my father took more than two decades to heal. All this drama taught me that I couldn’t count on my family to offer support when it was needed.
Recently, I came across information that explained a lot. A year before the divorce, my mother had an affair with my father’s younger brother. Now I have a lot of pent-up anger toward my mother. Her selfish actions hurt a lot of people. But I feel I need to apologize to my aunts and uncles for the terrible things I said to them so long ago.
I realize I’m never going to have the kind of relationship I want with them, even if I do apologize. How can I atone and get past the hurt and anger?
Dear Florida: You are being awfully hard on yourself. You were a teenager and protective of your mother. It’s likely your relatives assumed you didn’t want a relationship. They could be quite willing to start over. But first you must forgive everyone involved, including both of your parents, as well as yourself. If you continue to hold on to your anger, you will keep looking for someone to blame. Counseling can help nudge you in the right direction if you are unable to get there on your own.
Dear Annie: The way “Nervous in Virginia” described her husband’s driving sounds exactly like an adult driver affected by ADD.
After 42 years of living with an undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder, my husband began taking prescribed medication. To our amazement, the most obvious difference was his astonishingly improved driving.
Perhaps ADD may be the cause of this man’s reckless and distracted driving.
— Enjoying the Ride Now
Dear Enjoying: Maybe, although it doesn’t explain his extremely inconsiderate reaction to his wife’s distress. But we hope she’ll look into it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.