Short Answers

By Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman


Dear Short Answers:
I live in a small beachside town in Florida and we have been very lucky to have almost no virus cases in this area. About a month ago, my son and his wife and their two children decided to move out of Boston and stay with me here since they can work from home now. It was fine at first but now I am going crazy. They refuse to let me leave the house (I am over 70 years old but very healthy) even though they go grocery shopping and take their children to the beach. Before they arrived, I had a great routine of walking with a friend every morning for two hours, having coffee with a friend (at a safe distance) and I would even have a glass of wine with a friend on her front porch. They won’t let me do any of that and claim that it is for my own good. It’s MY house and it’s MY life. How do I handle this? I can’t kick them out but I can’t live like this. Help!

Dear Suffocated:
Hahahaha. There appears to be a lot of this going around — kids who attempt to restrict their parent’s activity in the name of love. Wonder where they got that idea?


Dear Short Answers:
I’ve gotten myself into a difficult situation with a much younger man.  My husband died 15 years ago (I just turned 65) and I’ve lived alone ever since. I live in a big old house that is in pretty good shape but always needs a little work. A friend introduced me to a “struggling artist” who needed a place to live (he’s 43). In exchange for doing odd jobs around the house, I let him live here. One thing led to another and we started sleeping together. It was a turn on at first, but now I know that it’s just not a match made in heaven. When I told him he could live here but not sleep with me, he was devastated but has nowhere else to live. I think that a free room in exchange for a little work around the house is a great deal. How do I convince him we can both be adults about this?
The Grown Up

Dear Grown:
This is pretty binary: either he gracefully accepts a de-escalated relationship, or he gets out. You make the call, but don’t waste your breath by trying to “convince” him. And BTW — there are other ways to get help.


Dear Short Answers:
I am “quaranteaming” with a few friends and have been since early March. It was fun at first but I’m not sure that I picked the right group. I’ve brought up the subject that maybe we should split up and find new groups and they were furious calling me a traitor and stuff like that. Since this quarantine may gone on for months or years, are we really stuck with the group we started out with FOREVER??
Over It

Dear Over It:
EVERYONE is over-exposed these days. Our advice: minimize drama and apologize frequently.



Dear Short Answers:
Is GUM bad for your teeth?

Dear Love:

Life is complicated.  Short Answers isn’t.

Send a question about whatever is bothering you to [email protected] or go to and a psychologist and sociologist will answer.  A selection of the best questions will be printed every week in KonkLife.

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