Originally published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 06:01a.m.
Dear Annie: After working my whole life, I am retiring in a couple of weeks. I’ve been looking forward to some downtime, sleeping in, time for myself and time to do the things I want to do, but a problem has appeared.
My husband wants me to take care of his 97-year-old semi-invalid father, who expects a full cooked breakfast every morning at 7 o’clock. On top of that, my son and his wife, who work different shifts, expect me to care for their screaming 2-year-old toddler and their new baby, who is due in a few weeks.
I hate to say “no” to my family, but what about me? What should I do? -- Distressed in Utah
Dear Distressed: Don’t think of it as saying “no” to your family. Think of it as finally saying “yes” to yourself.
Someone was taking care of your father-in-law up until this point. Can that person continue to do so, at least in some capacity? Perhaps you could hire a part-time caregiver who could be with him during the day. Surely, you and your husband can come up with a plan that doesn’t require you to serve as 24/7 nurse and chef. The same goes for your son and his wife. They should not rely entirely on you for child care. Baby-sitting should be a favor, not a duty.
Though setting boundaries may lead to some conflict with family members in the short term, it will make for healthier, less resentful relations in the long term. Congrats on your retirement.
Dear Annie: I am a gay man in my late 20s, and I’ve found myself in a very confusing situation. I could use some advice. My best friend, a woman I’ve known for almost 15 years, and I are so close we’re almost like siblings. I spend holidays with her family and take vacations with them. Her parents consider me one of their children. She has three elder siblings, a sister and two brothers. I am incredibly close to all of them, especially one of her brothers, “Bryan.”
Bryan is like a brother to me. We tell each other we love each other. If he were gay, I would most likely be in a relationship with him. So compatible are we that his parents often joke that we would make the perfect couple, and they say they would be so happy if that were something that could somehow be possible.
However, my fraternal relationship with Bryan has always sort of had an undertone of his appreciating the fact that I find him attractive. It’s not uncommon for him to take his shirt off and ask me whether I think his workouts are paying off. I know that this is quite common with other people, too; straight men often relish the idea that they are the object of desire for gay men. But recently, it’s come to a weird apex.
Now, I should probably mention that he has a girlfriend whom he loves and is about to move in with. But I still have these complicated feelings. Is he just teasing me? Is he just joking?
I don’t know how to process this or how to move forward. I love him like a brother, but I would definitely be intimate with him if he wanted. I’m so confused.
Could you lend a hand? -- Confused
Dear Confused: I take it Bryan is confused, too. But that’s no excuse for his selfish behavior. He is using you for attention and validation, not only deceiving you -- by giving you false hope for a relationship -- but also deceiving his girlfriend. Tell him this needs to stop, and give yourself space and time to get over your feelings for him.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.