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: When I married "Glenn" eight years ago, I knew his parents were divorced, but I didn't realize they both had been married and divorced four times.
Last year, Glenn and I were having a difficult period in our relationship. I decided to talk to his parents about it, hoping they could provide some help and insight. Instead, I was shocked by their attitude.
When I told my mother-in-law that Glenn, age 36, had declared bankruptcy for the second time, she said the banks were at fault for giving him money and charging such high interest rates. When I told her he has a gambling problem, she said there was nothing wrong with gambling, that a lot of people make a living playing poker and that somebody has to win and it could be him. When I explained that he always spends more than he makes, she said, "So what? A lot of people have that problem."
My father-in-law compared Glenn's gambling addiction to investing money in the stock market, saying, "Glenn just takes different risks." Both in-laws told me there are plenty of women who would be willing to overlook his addiction. They also let me know they will be leaving him their entire estate (more than a half-million dollars) when they die, so we won't have to worry about money. Frankly, at the rate Glenn gambles, a half-million dollars wouldn't last very long.
I was appalled at my in-laws' lack of any moral conviction. They never spoke about honesty, personal integrity or the danger of a gambling addiction. I came from a foreign country and was raised by parents who believed it was important to behave honorably and that the family name never should be tarnished.
How should I handle this? — Arlington, Va.
Dear Arlington: It is apparent that Glenn was not raised the way you were. You say you were having a difficult time with your relationship last year. It sounds as if you were willing to sweep a lot under the rug in order to stay with Glenn. You don't say whether or not you have children. That would be important for me to know in order to give you some solid advice.
You need to have some sessions with a marriage counselor. It sounds as if your relationship is on shaky ground. I urge you to ask Glenn to go with you. The man was raised by parents who made excuses for all his failures and weaknesses. He is in desperate need of some self-understanding. A competent marriage counselor could be a godsend to you both.
Dear Ann Landers: Our son and his wife adopted a beautiful little girl when she was 7 days old. The child soon will be 4 years of age, and they have not told her that she is adopted. We believe this is not right but hesitate to interfere. Any suggestions? — Concerned Mom and Dad
Dear Mom and Dad: I don't mind interfering on your behalf. Tell your son the child should be told that she is special because she was "chosen." (And the sooner the better.)
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.