Dear Annie: I am 29 and have been a teacher in a small town for seven years. During this time, I have had two serious relationships, but neither worked out.
Recently, my mother has been on me about moving so I can find someone to marry and have kids. I understand that she doesn’t want me to be alone, but, Annie, I have wonderful friends here. Some are as close as family.
Right now, I am OK with being single, but I know that I have a tendency to resist change. My mother thinks I will be alone for the rest of my life and regret it. I told her I would consider moving, but I really don’t want to leave this place. I love my friends, my job and my students.
What should I do? My mother is so upset that it makes me stressed.
— All Talked Out
Dear Talked Out: How important is it to you (not your mother) to be married? Not everyone needs a life partner to lead a happy, fulfilling life. Raising children is an entirely separate issue and could involve adoption or fostering. And many teachers consider their students the only “children” they need.
It is difficult to meet prospective marriage partners in areas where the dating pool is small. Even online matchmaking might require relocating. If you can be happy without marriage, tell your mother the subject is closed. But if you are simply too frightened to get out of your comfort zone, please work on it, with counseling if necessary. You shouldn’t have major regrets down the road.
Dear Annie: I am 37 and have a rich life with wonderful friendships and a great career. But I am deeply hurt that my sister has never expressed an interest in being a part of my life.
She takes things too seriously, often holds grudges over minor criticisms, and assumes the role of victim when anything hurts her feelings, which is often. She married a solid guy, but he’s the type who sees the glass as half-empty.
I am returning to my hometown after living abroad for a year, and I wrote about seeing them. My brother-in-law responded (my sister rarely does), but his interest seemed half-hearted, and he made all kinds of excuses about stress from work and not really being able to do much but rest on the weekends.
My sister has never once visited me in all the cities I’ve lived in. She rarely inquires about my life. I am fun loving and happy. It hurts that she continually rejects me, and I wonder why I care about a relationship that is so one-sided.
I have talked to her about it, and she always says she’ll be in closer contact, but it never happens. Do I need to let this relationship go?
— Wish I Had a Sister
Dear Wish: Your sister is oversensitive and finds it difficult to be closer, but she is not toxic, and we don’t believe she is trying to hurt you. She could actually be jealous of the life you are leading. She seems incapable of the warmth you want, but you apparently have many friends who fill that need. You don’t have to cut her off. All you need to do is adjust your expectations. Please accept your sister’s limitations and reconnect in small doses.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Angry and Embarrassed.” As a mother of three small children, going out to dinner gives me a break from cooking. I try to teach my children manners and tell them that making a mess is not OK, but this lady’s grandchild is 16 months old and cannot understand that yet.
When my kids make a mess at a restaurant, my husband and I apologize and then leave a more generous tip for the server. But I do not feel that these parents were rude in not cleaning up a few noodles that landed on the floor.
— Done That
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 Street, 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.