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: Two years ago, I met a wonderful man, and we have been dating ever since. When "Bob" bought a home last May, he asked me to move in with him. I knew his mother would be moving in, too, but I thought it would be temporary.
Well, it's been eight months, and she is still here. I cook, clean and do laundry, but she does everything over again, saying I didn't do a good job. She has peculiar eating habits, which makes it difficult for me to prepare a tasty meal that everyone can enjoy. When I try to cook something she can eat, she claims my cooking "doesn't taste right" and adds other ingredients or dilutes it with water. She also tells me I shouldn't use a mop on the floor because "it's not clean unless you get down on your hands and knees and scrub."
I've told Bob several times that I am ready to pack up and leave, but he cries and begs me to stay. I honestly don't want to go, Ann. I really love the guy. Can you help me? — Exasperated in Salem, Ore.
Dear Salem: Face it. Your boyfriend is going to have to decide: Either his mother must live elsewhere, or you leave — unless, of course, you are willing to put up with the old battle-ax forever.
Since you aren't married yet, there's a chance you may win the power struggle, but I wouldn't bet on it. Your future mother-in-law is going to be a thorn in your side, a fly in your ointment and a bone in your throat forever. Get some counseling to give yourself confidence and strength. You're going to need it.
Gem of the Day: If you think you are a person of influence, try ordering someone else's dog around.
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ANN LANDERS (R)