AnnLanders.com - Dear Ann Landers: I am a 27-year-old woman currently living in a large house with three roommates -- two male, one female.
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Section: manners, mental-health, relationships, dating
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a 27-year-old woman currently living in a large house with three roommates -- two male, one female. One of the guys, "Eddie," owns the house. I think Eddie is obsessive-compulsive. He pastes our names on the silverware so we will know which fork to use. He has assigned us parking spots, even though we have no parking lot and use a public street. He posts a calendar for us to mark off which days we are using the laundry facilities. I once put a mark on the wrong day, and instead of erasing it, he got a new calendar. I could live with his quirks except for one thing. He often tells me personal, intimate things about his life, including how much he longs for someone special to be with. I get the distinct impression he wants that someone to be me. Eddie doesn't frighten me, but I'm uncomfortable around him. I don't want to move out, Ann. The rent is cheap, I have my own room, and the other roommates are great. I cannot afford anything better. The only solution I've found is to work late and spend as much time in my room as possible. Do you have any other suggestions? -- Whacked Out in the West

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Section: mental-health, children, health-and-wellness, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband and I divorced last summer. We have a 9-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. I bought a house a few miles from my ex-husband, and the children and I have been living there for the last five months. My daughter slept with me for the first month we were in our new house, until I could afford to buy her a bed. I admit it was nice, and I didn't mind. I like having my children close. The problem is, it has been five months, and she still wants to sleep in my bed. I wouldn't mind, but I am afraid it could be damaging to her in some way. I could use some advice, Ann. -- Suzi in Houston

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Section: addictions, children, health-and-wellness
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
The recent letters you printed concerning parents whose underage children are drinking raises a critical point that cannot be overstated: Parental involvement is crucial to raising drug-free and alcohol-free kids. The most recent national survey for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teens who drink, smoke or use pot are less likely to tell their parents where they are on weekends, less likely to have a parent at home after school and less likely to rely on parents' opinions when they make important decisions. They are also less likely to attend religious services regularly. Nearly half of 13-year-olds say their parents have never discussed the dangers of illegal drugs with them. The survey also found that teens who have tried marijuana say their friends had the most influence over their decision. Teens who have chosen not to smoke pot say their parents influenced them most. The bottom line? Parents have more clout than they think. They should use it. -- Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman and president, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

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Section: children, grief-and-loss
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Yesterday, we buried our only son. He was 9 years old. Apparently, he found the loaded gun my husband kept in the drawer of his nightstand, and well -- you can guess the rest. Please tell your readers NEVER to leave a loaded gun where a child can reach it. Even better advice, don't have a gun in the house. It won't protect you. The invader is more experienced at shooting, and he will get you before you get him. It is too late for us to protect our son from our carelessness, Ann, but maybe my letter will save someone else's child. -- Grieving in the Midwest

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Section: children, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband's mother passed away four years ago. His father remarried not long after, but my husband hasn't taken to his stepmother very well. He never speaks to her unless he absolutely has to. Although there never has been an argument or a fight between them, the tension is obvious, and it is uncomfortable for everyone. About two months ago, I had a long talk with my father-in-law and let him know that his son wanted a closer relationship. The minute I opened my mouth, his wife jumped in, made all kinds of accusations and stormed out. I admit I might not have been very diplomatic in my approach, but I figured it was best to be honest and lay my cards on the table. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do. I have apologized to his wife for being so frank, but I cannot change the way I feel. Now, the woman avoids us completely, and I think she is persuading my father-in-law to do the same. I am afraid I have made things worse, and now, I want to make the situation better. Any ideas? -- Lost in Louisiana

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Section: sexuality, children, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Our 16-year-old son recently admitted that he is having sex with his girlfriend, "Evie." It's not as if we have never discussed sex. We have had long talks with him about it and discouraged premarital intimacy. He seemed to understand the dangers, but apparently, that didn't stop him. Evie's parents are divorced, but we are friends with both of them. I think the girl should tell her parents that she is having sex so they can advise her and help her choose an appropriate method of birth control. Our son says he is using condoms, but I know they are not always 100 percent reliable. Both of these kids want to go to college, and we are concerned that an unplanned pregnancy could destroy their lives. I don't know how to get Evie to tell her parents. Her mother is a very understanding woman, so this ought not be a problem. Should I let my son know that if Evie doesn't tell her folks, I will? My husband says it is none of our business, but I say what happens to our teenage son definitely IS our business. Please advise me. -- Upset in Cape Coral, Fla.

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Section: relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband is a workaholic. He regularly works on Saturdays and often on Sundays as well. He averages 10 to 12 hours a day. Our three children are grown and doing well. We have purchased annuities for them and our four grandchildren. We give generous gifts of money for birthdays and Christmas and enjoy the fact that we can. We have two cars, a lovely home, no debts and approximately $1 million in assets. Sound good? Well, we also have no hohbies. We haven't had a vacation in years except for a couple of weekends when we visited our children and their families.

I was a professional woman and worked both inside and outside the home. We are both in our 70s. When does the fun start?
--The Big Q

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Section: relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I read something in the paper a while back that gave me an idea. I need your advice on whether to do it. The problem: a husband who would rather go fishing and hunting with the boys than be with me.

The following news story appeared on the Associated Press wire:

A woman in Isanti, Minn., got fed up with her husband's absenteeism. He, too, was a fishing and hunting nut. She ran the following ad on his birthday:

"Husband for sale cheap. Comes complete with hunting and fishing equipment. Also one pair of jeans, two shirts, a Lab retriever and 25 pounds of deer meat. Not home much between September and January or April through October. Will consider trade."

When the first few calls came from interested women, her husband thought it was amusing. But by the second day, the phone was ringing off the wall. He didn't think it was so funny.

A few days later, she ran a second ad saying it was all a joke and she had decided to keep her husband after all. I'd say the little lady scored a victory.

How about it, Ann? Should I do likewise?
--Fifty Pounds of Deer Meat, 30 Quails, 40 Mallards, 20 Trout and 2 Marlins

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Section: relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I've been going with a wristwatch salesman for 16 months. He takes me to the most expensive places, and last year for my birthday he gave me a beautiful watch. Something weird is going on, and I can't figure out what's at the bottom of it. His stenographer is overly interested in our personal business. She wants to know where we go, how much he spends and what we talk about. Last night, I'm sure I saw her following us in her car. The night before, she sat directly behind us at the movies. I asked my boyfriend to explain this. He said he didn't want it to "get around" because it'd be bad for business, but she's his first cousin. He claims she's very competent and he can't tell her off because she might quit. He asks that I be patient and overlook her odd behavior. What do you make of it? --Shadowed

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"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them."
-Ann Landers