Dear Annie: I have a problem that I have never seen in your column.
My 64-year-old father-in-law sends my middle-aged husband pornographic pictures. My husband and I share the same email address, and the last picture was extremely explicit.
My husband does not check his email regularly. When he does, he ignores most of his father’s stuff, thank heavens. I haven’t deleted these emails, but I now think my father-in-law is a total creep. Is there anything I should do? I hope he sees himself in this letter.
-- Offended Wife
Dear Offended: Is your husband aware that his father is sending him these photos? If not, tell him. Then ask whether he wants to receive these pictures. He may not care, or he may prefer not to confront his father. Since they’re meant for him, he should have the final word, although you can encourage him to tell Dad to stop. We also recommend that you open your own email account so you are not subjected to this assault on your senses. Although why you would voluntarily open any email from this man is beyond us.
Dear Annie: I’m 14 years old and adopted. As I’ve gotten older, the feeling of wanting to know my real family has grown stronger. Because my adoption wasn’t open, I can’t meet my biological family. I know the government means well by these laws, but it makes me feel empty inside.
My adoptive family drives me insane with the excuse, “I can’t tell you much until you’re 18.” Isn’t there something they can tell me? Can the government really bar me from seeing my birth family?
-- Left Lonely in My Heart.
Dear Lonely: First of all, your “real family” is the one that raised you. There are legitimate reasons why birth records are not intended to be seen by kids under age 18. Reunions with birth parents sometimes work out OK, but they also can be difficult, unpleasant, depressing and a huge disappointment, especially if you are expecting too much.
Teenagers, in particular, often go through emotionally rough waters, becoming upset with their adoptive families and mistakenly believing the biological family would be easier. Your parents are simply trying to protect you.
But we understand that this is hard and unsatisfying for you. There are counselors who specialize in this field. Ask your parents to make an appointment for all of you to talk with someone who will assist in figuring out the best way to deal with your frustrations and how much information your parents can give you. They can get a referral from your pediatrician.
Dear Annie: “In Turmoil in Kansas,” the 45-year-old gay man, could have been me 16 years ago. I lived alone in Michigan, but I had no job, no social life, no partner and only one friend — and he lived far away. I was in the closet and didn’t know anything about PFLAG. I found that smoky, noisy and crowded bars were not for me. I was so scared to tell anyone I’m gay.
I am now 46, have a great partner, live in Florida, joined the local PFLAG chapter, have two great jobs and am out to everyone, including my very accepting parents — something I never expected. I never go to gay bars, although I have many gay pen pals.
In two years, I’ll be moving to Boston to live with my partner, who is transferring jobs.
Isn’t it great how life can be so wonderful after being depressed and lonely for so long? Please tell him not to give up hope.
-- Sarasota, Fla.
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