Held Hostage by Insecurity Dear Annie: Twelve years ago, my son moved his girlfriend into our home. "Lena" lived with us for four years, and we treated her like family. They broke up, and Lena moved out. She then married someone else and now has an adorable 6-year-old …Read more. Instituting the Payback Plan Dear Annie: I have helped my wife's daughter and family financially many times over the past 15 years. Eighteen months ago, I loaned them $600, and they promised they would pay me back. (My previous loans were gifts.) The daughter's husband has a …Read more. Navigating the Plus-One Dear Annie: How much can I ask my host about etiquette for her overseas wedding? I live in Canada. The bride is French. I met her when she was briefly living in my hometown. She went back to France two years ago, and now she's getting married there. …Read more. Youth Service Dear Annie: Young people are ready, willing and able to tackle the world's most difficult challenges, and yet are vastly underrepresented as active citizens, decision-makers and problem solvers. We know that young people are uniquely suited to help …Read more.more articles
Annie's Mailbox, November 5
Dear Annie: My husband is an amazing man. He is selfless and has uncompromising integrity. He is well-known and well-respected in our small community. I am proud to be his wife.
I am 19 years my husband's junior, and this, along with his well-deserved reputation, casts a huge shadow over me. I understand some of this can't be helped, but why must people treat me as though I am some kind of accessory? I am a fairly intelligent woman, and although I am attractive, I don't present myself as a bimbo. The real problem, however, is that my husband not only doesn't seem to notice or care when his "fans" treat me rudely, it's almost as if he goes out of his way to be extra nice to these very same people.
I have accused him of building his ego by making me feel inferior. Am I crazy? He claims I am overreacting. His own brother said to me, "You were a nobody until you married my brother." How do you think my husband should react to these situations? — Mrs. Nobody
Dear Mrs.: He should make it clear that he is also proud of his wife. There is often an assumption when Mr. Big Shot marries a much younger woman that she is simply a trophy wife. Your husband either agrees or likes to give that impression. Women in these marriages have to work quite hard to establish an independent identity. People don't know you. So get on the boards of some charitable foundations. Volunteer at your church. Start a literacy program or a food drive. If you want to develop a reputation as a smart, capable woman, you must do something to promote it instead of relying on your unsupportive husband to do it for you.
Dear Annie: Why is it that whenever my husband and I have a get-together at our home, hardly anyone shows up?
Tonight we contacted several friends to come over for drinks and to listen to music and kick back. Absolutely no one showed up. This is not unusual.
By the way, this goes for our families, too. My oldest son just graduated high school and is the first in either family to attend college. I went all out for his open house and even reminded everyone to come. Once again, hardly anyone showed up. Not only was I disappointed, my son was crushed. Life should be filled with family and friends. Why is this happening? — Indiana
Dear Indiana: We have no idea. You could be issuing unclear invitations or having so many get-togethers that people feel they've been there before and can afford to miss some. Invite fewer people less often and see if your invitations become more valued. As for your family, we suggest asking them point-blank what's going on and telling them how disappointed you and your son were that they didn't bother to celebrate his graduation. An honest explanation would be helpful.
Dear Annie: Every year you print a letter from someone complaining about glowing Christmas newsletters. Tell people to read between the lines.
I didn't put in the newsletter that my son dropped out of school and spent time in the hospital for depression. I also left out the years when I considered divorce and the time my other son was arrested for possession of marijuana. I'd rather sift through the events of the year in order to bring to light the few blessings that did occur. — Focusing on the Blessings
Dear Blessings: That is a lovely idea for others to keep in mind, but it is also important that these newsletters not become brag sheets regardless of the reason.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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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