Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My friend “Jodi” is 27 and very sheltered. Her parents still pay her rent and bills. I’m worried because Jodi has been acting out of character. She cheated on her husband with a 59-year-old man. He’s now her new boyfriend and “soul mate.” He’s creepy. He talks down to her and gropes her in public. She gives him her paycheck and the use of her parents’ credit cards.
Jodi has a daughter from her marriage, and the little girl lives with her father. I work for Child Protective Services and know this “dream boyfriend” is a sex offender. When we go out as friends, she brings him along, and he says crude, disgusting things to us about our clothes and our bodies. He even tried to take money out of my purse. Jodi thinks this is funny and says I should lighten up.
I told her about his history and that she should be cautious with him around her daughter. She became angry and said she never wanted to speak to me again. I’m OK with that. She’s not the person I once knew.
My job obligates me to report that this man is spending time with a young child, and I have informed his parole officer. But I also think I should advise the little girl’s father, who has primary custody, and Jodi’s parents, who have secondary custody.
My boss says I’ve done my duty by alerting the parole board, and that speaking to the family is a personal choice. My husband says I don’t need to crusade to protect every child. Finding out that the creep stays overnight when her daughter is in the house made my skin crawl. Should I tell the family? — Not a Crusader
Dear Crusader: Yes. We doubt Jodi’s parents will do anything since they already enable their daughter to be irresponsible. But the little girl’s father will want to do everything he can to protect his child. You can’t prevent Jodi from being an idiot about this man, but please don’t turn your back on her daughter.
Dear Annie: My brief romance with “Marie” ended many years ago when I left California to attend law school in Michigan. She married someone else and had a family, and so did I. We each divorced years later and, by chance, met up and rekindled our romance. Marie is a wonderful, dynamic woman, and every moment is filled with laughter and love. Our children have accepted us, and Marie encourages me to remain civil with my ex in order to co-parent effectively.
Here’s my dilemma: When visiting my home, she saw a framed collage of pictures in my entrance hallway, some of which include my ex-wife and me. She calls it a “shrine.” I see it as pictures on the wall. My youngest son, now 14, likes this picture. Marie gave me an ultimatum, adding, “If he likes it so much, put it in his room.” I feel she is being unreasonable.
I truly love Marie, but now I wonder whether I am trading one controlling partner for a new one. We have nearly broken up over this. — Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: It’s quite presumptuous for a girlfriend to dictate what pictures you can have in your hallway, especially when your son still lives with you and removing the collage would bother him. Unless you have a large portrait of your ex hanging in the living room, it’s not Marie’s business. Tread cautiously.
Dear Annie: This is for “Fed Up,” whose brother-in-law helps himself to their food and wine. My mother also does this at everyone’s home because she thinks it’s cute. I was fed up, so I removed the tag from a jar of dog treats, and one day Mom walked into my house and ate one without asking. Rest assured, she no longer takes food from my kitchen without permission. — Texas
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 St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.
Published in The Messenger 3.21.12