Annie's Mailbox: Daughter-in-law tired of being quiet

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Dear Annie: My husband, my son and I live with my mother-in-law. She’s been divorced for nine years. I know Mom deserves companionship, but one night last month, she went out with the girls and decided to bring a guy home. We thought it was going to be a one-night stand, but “Stan” hasn’t left since that night.

Stan is only two years older than my husband. He’s been eating our food and using our toiletries and seems to have made himself quite comfortable. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and while my husband and his mother are at work, Stan hangs around making moves on me. I’ve told my husband, but he refuses to believe the guy is hitting on me.

Stan is also sneaky. The other day, I caught him siphoning gas from my husband’s hobby hotrod in the garage. I know he is taking advantage of us. My mother-in-law insists he’s harmless. What do I do? I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut.

— Annoyed and Ignored

Dear Annoyed: Why are you keeping your mouth shut? You have a child living with you, and he should not be subjected to any of this nonsense. Have your husband tell his mother that this is an unhealthy arrangement for everyone, particularly her grandson, and that you want Stan out. The longer he stays, the harder it will be. If she refuses, we hope you will start saving your money. Your family needs its own space.

Dear Annie: My younger brother just celebrated his 18th birthday. He’s smart, personable and a decent-looking guy, although a bit nerdy. My concern is that he’s never had a girlfriend or even indicated any interest in the opposite sex. He says he is dedicated to his schoolwork, so we seldom, if ever, bring up the topic.

What I fear is that he may be secretly gay and afraid to come out. I’d accept my brother regardless of his orientation, but I worry he may have some anxiety. Is it unusual for someone his age to have no interest in either gender? Should I be worried?

— B.C.

Dear B.C.: You are making a lot of assumptions that seem unwarranted. Yes, your brother could be secretly gay, and there is also a small percentage of the population that is asexual — not interested at all. But we suspect your brother is simply biding his time.

Many 18-year-olds aren’t ready to date, and a guy who is “a bit nerdy” may have difficulty approaching and attracting girls and may be too embarrassed to discuss it with his family. These guys often do better socially when they are in college. We suggest you occasionally offer him some pointers to help him be more confident. Otherwise, just be his friend. If he needs to talk, he’ll come to you.

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. 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.

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