Obnoxious Neighbor Dear Annie: My husband and I are friends with another couple in our neighborhood. The majority of the time, we get along well. We have even traveled together. The problem is, "Susie" is very loud and an extremely poor conversationalist. She …Read more. Opposites No Longer Attract Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 24 years, and it feels like we are roommates with kids. We are opposites and always have been, but it seems as if we have fallen out of sync completely. He has never been outgoing, whereas I am a …Read more. Fliratous Friend Rattles Husband Dear Annie: My wife and I recently married after having been together for 15 years. It is a second marriage for both of us. Six years ago, I discovered that she had contacted an old friend from high school through Facebook. She initially didn't …Read more. Profligate Parents Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our late 50s and have been married for 26 years. I have had the privilege of not needing to hold an outside job since I married, allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom and raise our kids, who are now grown and out …Read more.more articles
Didn't Marry Mom and Dad
Dear Annie: My wife, "Kate," and I are in our early 40s and have been married for 15 years. We have two children.
Kate has a deeply troubling emotional dependence on her parents that shows no sign of changing. They wanted to come with us on our honeymoon, which I initially thought was a joke. It wasn't. I flatly refused, and Kate became angry.
Early in the marriage, I overlooked a lot of this overcloseness, because I thought she would eventually grow out of it when she became a wife and mother. But it hasn't happened. Kate calls her parents every day and discusses all of our personal issues with them. She has let me know that they come before the rest of us and always will.
We've tried counseling several times, but she cannot or will not change and it leaves me frustrated. The only reason I'm still in this marriage is because of my kids. I'm ready to find a girlfriend. What should I do? — Stuck in San Francisco
Dear Stuck: Finding a girlfriend will not ease the problem with your wife, so let's not do that. When someone marries, the spouse should always come before the parents, even though some parents don't like that and may, in fact, encourage the grown child to put them first. This is unfair to the child, keeping them infantilized and dependent. Kate wasn't mature enough to get married, but you expected her to change anyway.
The fact that Kate phones her parents daily is not a big deal. But discussing personal marital issues with them allows them to be a bigger part of your marriage than they should be, and Kate refuses to change that.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Need Some Relief," the couple in their 70s who were tired of hosting all the holiday dinners.
When my mother got sick, my sisters chose to host the big twice-a-year family dinners. When Mom recovered, she still didn't feel up to cooking for an army of children and grandchildren, so we did a potluck-style dinner. The sisters who keep kosher were in charge of cooking the turkey and other major dishes. My brother and I (who don't keep kosher) brought raw ingredients and cooked at Mom's. Of course, we all cleaned up after.
We estimated the cost of all the ingredients and divided it equally. (Middle children are very stuck on "fair.") Mom provided the location, plates, cups, etc. Mom said the only downside was that she didn't have leftovers for the rest of the week. — Huntington, Massachusetts
Dear Huntington: Thank you for pointing out how well things can turn out when everyone pitches in and no one expects Mom (or anyone else) to do all the heavy lifting. You found a way to make it work.
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. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. 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.
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