Dear Annie: I've been with a wonderful guy for five years. After two abusive marriages, I am finally being treated right. "Bud" and I have only two issues: money and kids. We have broken up a few times over our problems, but honestly, I can't live without him.
Bud is 44 years old and owns his own business, but he does not save money. When I met him, he had nothing. Now he has $20,000 in a retirement account and another $5,000 in savings. He finally has his two kids pretty well straightened out, although they will never be exactly normal.
Bud still doesn't manage his money well. He needs so many things in his house, yet he went out and bought a truck he doesn't need. He now has six years of payments on it, his auto insurance went up, and if he ever needs new tires, we are talking thousands of dollars. I want him to sell it and get a reasonably priced truck. He says he will lose money on the sale, which is true, but why sink even more into it?
Both of my marriages involved men who overspent on themselves, so I know I have a tendency to be extra cautious. How can I convince Bud that he did the wrong thing by buying the truck, but that he still has time to fix it? I won't marry a man I can't trust with my money. Not again. — Thrice Shy
Dear Thrice: You can't treat Bud like a child, even if he makes poor financial decisions. He will resent it and push back. Instead, approach all such matters jointly, being respectful of each other's opinions, even when you disagree. You also could offer to take over the handling of finances for the household, keeping everyone within a reasonable budget. But you are wise not to commingle your money if you don't trust Bud's ability to handle it. Before marrying, consider financial counseling together through your bank or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org).
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married 27 years. We each have grown children from previous marriages.
My husband's 42-year-old unmarried son lives out of state. "Mike" is self-supporting, but the only time we hear from him is when he needs some extra money. He lives alone except for his dogs. For the past three years, Mike has spent Christmas with us, staying three or four days. We are always happy to see him, even though we only have two bedrooms and he brings the dogs — even one who is incontinent.
Last year, my daughter (who also lives out of state) visited with her two children. We hadn't seen her in two years. My husband also was scheduled for knee replacement surgery the following week. So when Mike asked to come with his dogs and a new puppy, we explained that it wasn't a good time. We asked him to come in February or March, while his father recuperated — and hopefully, the puppy would be housebroken.
We have not heard from him since, even though I have left numerous messages on his voicemail. What more can I do to mend this fragile relationship? — In the Middle
Dear Middle: Not much. You have explained, and you have called. We trust you will keep all of the kids informed of Dad's progress, including Mike. But it is up to him to make the next move. We suspect when he needs money, he will get in touch again.
Dear Annie: Most women who responded to "Your Husband" do not understand men very well. Without sex, men feel incomplete. It's part of how we feel loved. Women should realize how important sex is to a man simply by seeing that he is willing to risk everything — his wife, family and assets — to fill this void. — Feeling the Void in Indiana
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], 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.