Dear Annie: I’m a 40-year-old man who has moved back home with my mother to recover from a car accident. The recovery is nearly complete, but the economy is slowing my progress toward moving out of the house.
Mom is very intrusive. When I first moved back home, I was in traction and unable to protest the carefully pressed undergarments and starch in my shorts. I have quite a lot of correspondence related to the accident, which my mother rearranges regularly when I’m not in the room. I sometimes wonder whether I’m receiving all my mail. She screens my phone calls by leaving the ringer off so I don’t hear the phone, and the answering machine is in her bedroom.
The most irritating aspect is that Mom stealthily walks up behind me when I’m using the computer. I’m not surfing any questionable Web sites, but I’d like my e-mail and Facebook activities to be private. I’d be happy to show her most of this if she’d just ask.
I don’t know how to get my mother to respect my personal space. I’m hoping she’ll see this letter in print and understand. – Smothered in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Smothered: Mom isn’t going to “understand.” You need to discuss this with her directly. Don’t be confrontational. Say lovingly, “Mom, I know you care about me, but I feel suffocated when you look over my mail, screen my phone calls and check what I’m doing on the computer. If you want to know something, just ask me. I’ll be happy to tell you.” We hope you can move out soon.
Dear Annie: I have a male friend who is married. I socialize with him and his wife. I’ve known since I met “Todd” that he finds me attractive.
A few weeks ago, Todd and his wife came over to my house for a party my family was giving. Drinking was involved, and Todd and I ended up messing around, kissing and stuff. I feel so awful. I don’t know what to do.
Should I tell his wife? Should I keep away from Todd? I feel so guilty, I can’t stand it. Do you have some advice? – Sorry Now
Dear Sorry: You may socialize with the two of them, but never be anywhere alone with Todd, even if it’s just the kitchen. Say nothing now, but if he gets too friendly, tell him firmly that you are not interested and if he comes one step closer, you will tell his wife. And watch your liquor intake. It obviously impairs your judgment.