Dear Annie: My son has been dating "Meredith" for quite some time. They live together at college and plan to marry next year.
I don't know how to handle this girl. She never says thank you when you give her a gift, even in person, or when we cook dinner for her. And when the rest of us get up to clear the table, she just sits there. It's awkward for me to ask her to help.
She apparently was brought up without manners. I have discussed this with my son, who doesn't seem to care, but it irks me to no end. Worse, my son always seems to be taking care of her. He rubs her back, clears her plate and brings her drinks and snacks. She never responds in kind.
This is going to create a lot of tension at future family get-togethers, and I want to say something before they marry. Do I just tell her my feelings directly and let the chips fall? — New Jersey
Dear New Jersey: Please don't. It's possible that Meredith is horrifically shy and cannot bring herself to respond in a normal way. That would require that you patiently teach her. But if that's not the case, you have a rude, indulged girl who isn't going to change unless your son insists on it. And he has no intention of doing so.
Talk to your son as neutrally as possible. Ask if Meredith treats you so poorly on purpose and, if so, why. Ask what you can do to improve things. But we urge you to do it without condemning Meredith, which would force your son to defend her. The point is to make him think about what his future with her will be like. If nothing changes, please find something to appreciate about this girl even if it kills you. The alternative is to risk alienating your son.
Dear Annie: I am 45 years old, have never been married and do not have kids. I am a straight man looking for a long-term relationship, but have had no luck finding the right lady. I have tried several dating websites, to no avail. I keep meeting divorced women with issues and baggage far beyond what I can handle. My longest relationship lasted nine months and ended abruptly.
I have no problem dating divorcees with kids, but they don't seem to want a man in my situation. And I'm having trouble meeting women who have never been married and don't have children. What can I do? — Single Too Long
Dear Single: There are drawbacks to being 45 with no baggage. People wonder what's wrong with you. Gather your closest friends and relatives and ask for an honest critique of your date-ability. Be willing to work on their suggestions. (Counseling can help if the issues relate to your basic personality.) The rest is going where the women are. Do some volunteer work. Travel. Join a choir, community theater, church group, political organization, whatever interests you. It will give women a chance to get to know you without the pressure of a relationship — and vice versa. And keep in mind that becoming a stepfather can be rewarding as well as challenging. Please don't dismiss it so quickly.
Dear Annie: "Hands Tied in Michigan" said her husband works out of state and sometimes doesn't call when he's back from dinner with the guys.
I say the wife needs to develop her own interests and friends and find ways to keep busy while he is away so she is not so demanding. It is excessive to expect a phone call each night. She sounds insecure and immature. After working all day and having dinner with co-workers, he may be finished talking for the day. Couples who have independent interests add more to their relationship. — An Independent Wife
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.