Live and Let Love -- and Encourage a Prenup Dear Annie: My recently widowed 74-year-old mother is now dating. She met "Paul" less than a year ago and is already talking about marrying him. Paul has been married several times, hasn't held a steady job in more than 30 years and lives with his …Read more. Strange Bedfellows Dear Annie: Over the holidays, I stayed at my cousin's home. My cousin has two children, a daughter and a son. The son is 14 years old. I noticed that the boy's grandmother slept with him in the same bed. I think she has a weird obsession with the …Read more. No New Furnishings for the Freeloaders Dear Annie: Last summer, my 19-year-old college student granddaughter asked to rent my basement bedroom, with its own bathroom and access to my laundry room. I agreed and asked for a minimum rent to cover utilities. She attends school on a …Read more. Fair-Weather Claire Dear Annie: My sister's son, "Jared," lives close to us but far from his mother. We always invite them to family get-togethers, but are never sure whether they will show up. Sometimes they don't respond, sometimes they show up without responding, …Read more.more articles
Thorn in the Family Side
Dear Annie: My husband and I were both widowed before meeting. We are now 70 and have been happily married for six years. We both have grown children.
Everything is good in our blended family except for my son's wife. "Stacy" has been a thorn in my side from the day they married 20 years ago. My former husband and I always managed to keep her quick temper under control. But since he died and I remarried, she's gone completely overboard. She has stopped my son from having any contact with our family, including his brothers and me.
Stacy has been unable to hold down a job because she can't get along with others. She's judgmental, critical and short-tempered. She is often jealous and has many unresolved issues from her childhood. She is keeping us away from her family, and none of us has seen my grandsons in three years. She says we aren't trustworthy, but that isn't true. We are not deceitful in any way, and our word is good.
The rest of the family continues to get together without my son and daughter-in-law, but we miss them very much. Our blended family is kind and loving toward one another. But those two grandsons don't know us, and it looks like that won't change anytime soon. My son is overwhelmed with Stacy's control issues, so he just goes along with whatever she wants.
Cards, letters, phone calls and emails go unanswered. Do you have any suggestions? — Grandma with a Broken Heart
Dear Grandma: We are so sorry that your son and his wife have chosen to exclude themselves from a loving family. Without your son's insistence, it is unlikely Stacy will come around. We understand that he is reluctant to rock the boat and possibly damage his marriage, but he shouldn't be isolated from his family in order to placate his wife. It is a form of emotional abuse.
Please continue to send cards, letters and emails without expecting replies.
Dear Annie: My father's secretary of many years smokes a pack of cigarettes every day in her office. The ceilings are low, and the ventilation is poor. The secondhand smoke is detrimental to my father's health, which is already compromised by other medical conditions.
My siblings and I have asked her many times to try to get help for her addiction, and to smoke outside or on the office balcony. Do we have to let her do as she pleases, even though it hurts to see Dad breathing in her fumes? — Montreal Fan
Dear Montreal: We have to wonder whether this secretary harbors some hostility toward Dad. Nonetheless, your father is the one who needs to speak up, and apparently, he is unwilling. So put in some fans, smokeless ashtrays and other helpful devices that will minimize the damage.
Dear Annie: I was bothered by the letter from "New Yorker," who volunteers at a nonprofit that provides homework help to neighborhood school kids.
Her assumption that many newer families are "stable and affluent" could be wrong. We have friends and family who are struggling, yet they try to maintain a proud face. This after-school program might be the saving grace for a woman working two jobs.
"New Yorker" should find another way of volunteering in the community if she finds some children unworthy of her charitable works. — M
Dear M: You make a good point. These after-school programs can be a true blessing to families and an educational boon to children regardless of income levels.
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. 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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