Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: I have been married for three years, and it is obvious that my mother does not like my wife. I can deal with that, but I'm becoming increasingly upset by the way Mom behaves around "Amelia."
Two weeks ago, there was a milestone family affair, and we hired a professional photographer to take pictures. As we were preparing to pose for the photo shoot, my mother informed Amelia that she could not be in the pictures because she was not a blood relative and therefore not a family member. My wife stepped out, but I could see she was very hurt.
There have been other instances, as well. One evening when several of us went to the theater together, Mom happened to end up sitting next to Amelia. She abruptly stood up, moved to the other side of the row and announced, "I want to sit next to my son."
I have asked my mother to please stop treating Amelia so shabbily, but she insists she has nothing against my wife and accuses me of being overly sensitive. I hope you can help me. — Not Mama's Boy in Missouri
Dear Missouri: Your signature does not match your letter. You certainly sound like a mama's boy to me, and a gutless one at that.
Why did you not speak up on your wife's behalf when your mother decided Amelia couldn't be in the family pictures because she wasn't a blood relative? And when your mother demanded to sit next to you in the theater, why didn't you arrange the seating so your wife could be on the other side?
As long as you permit your mother to abuse Amelia, she is going to do it. It's high time you asserted yourself, sonny boy. Check out the Bible, where it says, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh." Copy that directive on a piece of paper, and tape it to your bathroom mirror.
Dear Ann Landers: I am a 34-year-old single physician who has never been married or even come close. The truth is, I never found anyone I truly wanted to be with — until last year. Sound good? Well, wait. The woman I have fallen in love with is a very youthful 53-year-old — and she is married.
I do not want to jeopardize her marriage by having an affair, but I do want a friendship with her. We talk on the phone two or three times a week, but she must call me from work to avoid arousing suspicion at home. I cannot call her house and ask her to have lunch with me or go to a movie.
Is there any proper, non-threatening way I could have a close relationship with this woman without upsetting her family? Am I better off just leaving her alone? I'm afraid I will never meet anyone else whose company I enjoy so much. Please give me some guidance. — A Smitten M.D. in N.C.
Dear N.C. Doc: Stop playing with dynamite before you blow up the woman's marriage and your medical practice, as well. Surely there is a single woman in North Carolina who would be an appropriate companion with romantic possibilities. Let your friends know you are interested, and put yourself out there. If you need an incentive, think about how your life would be enriched with a couple of children. That should do it.
Gem of the Day (Credit Mark Twain): We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there, lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more.
Lonesome? Take charge of your life and turn it around. Write to receive Ann Landers' booklet "How To Make Friends and Stop Being Lonely." To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.