Dear Annie: I married "Dean" nine years ago. It was a second marriage for both of us. Soon after we wed, he said we would split all expenses 50-50. However, the house is in his name, and he will not put my name on the deed since I can't match "his" down payment, even though I pay him rent each month.
Everything we do, I have to pay half. He and his teenage son went on a two-week vacation, and I couldn't go because I couldn't afford my share. When we go out, I have to pay my own way. He lavishes money on his son and donates to civic organizations, but I get nothing. He only gives me a gift when I give him one of equal value.
We have no joint accounts. I currently have a large debt, but in two years that will be paid off. I feel like a second-class citizen. I know Dean loves me — but I come after his son, his job, his employees, his computer and his civic organizations. His bank accounts are getting fatter, and I am barely scraping by. Is this a marriage or a lord/serf relationship? — Indentured Servant
Dear Servant: It sounds like a lopsided business arrangement. It's certainly not our idea of a loving marriage where partners should take care of each other instead of sending them a bill for expenses. A good partnership is 50-50, but the contribution doesn't have to be money. It can mean household chores, child care, etc. And when one partner has a higher income and fewer debts than the other, it is unfair to expect an equal financial arrangement. Dean is treating you as an inferior, and it is building resentment. Tell him the marriage is in serious trouble, and you'd like to go for counseling. If he won't go, go without him. You might also want to see an attorney. Having everything in his name puts you in a risky position.
Dear Annie: I had some bad memories rise up when I read the letter from "Mother of a Tomboy." My paternal grandmother always expected me to look and act like a perfect little lady. Every time my brother and I went to see her, she made me wear those awful curlers all day. Before we left, she would finally take them out, fix my hair in an old-fashioned style and lacquer it down with tons of hairspray.
Nothing I wore was feminine enough. My weight was never right, and she didn't like me to eat too much of anything, including fruit. I begged Mom to make Granny stop doing my hair, and she did, although years later, she got her revenge when she gave me a perm and accidentally burned half my hair off.
Fortunately, I learned to like myself as I am. That grandmother should enjoy her tomboy granddaughter and not create terrible memories like the ones I have. — Lubbock, Texas
Dear Lubbock: If your grandmother had known how negatively you would remember her, we trust she would have done things differently.
Dear Readers: Today is Mother-in-Law Day. Please give yours a call.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. 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.
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