Dear Annie: My husband and I have three children. Our eldest, “Bret,” decided to finish his last year of college closer to home and will graduate in December.
The problem is, I am unhappy with him living with us and want him to find his own place. He works and goes to school, but the upstairs bedroom he occupies is dirty and disorganized. In addition, he takes his clothes and shoes off in our nicely finished basement and his stuff is strewn all over. His bathroom is filthy, and his friends come over at least four nights a week to play video games until the wee hours. My husband does not believe Bret should have to pay rent and has not helped me enforce the chores that would facilitate better household care. Bret also doesn’t pay for his car or any other bills because my husband thinks it’s our responsibility.
Although my son is a problem, I believe my husband is a bigger problem. We just don’t see eye to eye on this issue. I am building up a lot of resentment for both of them. Any advice? — Indianapolis
Dear Indianapolis: You and your husband need to sit down, calmly, and decide what Bret can afford and what is in his best interests. Some necessities (car insurance, for example) may be beyond his means at the moment. However, he should be contributing something for rent and he absolutely should be responsible for his own household mess. If you couch this in terms of “teaching him to be independent,” maybe your husband will be more receptive. It’s damaging to children when the parents don’t expect anything from them. Tell your husband you will no longer clean up after Bret. He will be responsible for his own room, bathroom and laundry. If your husband objects, HE can take over those chores. You must turn a blind eye. In December, Bret will need to move out, for his own sake, if not yours.
Dear Annie: My daughter recently eloped (with the full approval of my husband and me). She is a few months pregnant, and they plan to have a traditional wedding ceremony approximately a year after the baby is born.
How should the wedding invitation be worded since they will already be Mr. and Mrs.? And would it be wrong to wear a traditional white wedding gown?
My husband thinks the invitation should say they are renewing their vows (my daughter does not agree) and that she should wear something understated. I think she should do whatever she wants. — Mother of the Bride
Dear Mother: Oh, go ahead. In times past, it would be proper for your daughter to simply have a reception to celebrate her existing marriage, but if she wants the full-blown ceremony with all the trimmings, it’s OK to do so. The invitation can read “John and Jane Doe request the honor of your presence to celebrate their marriage,” etc., or something along those lines.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Not Feeling Photogenic” was right on. She had come across old photos and love letters from her husband’s previous girlfriends, and you told her to put them back and forget about them.
Many years ago, I was going through accumulated memorabilia from my two previous marriages. I planned to toss some old love letters and first asked my hubby if he wanted to read them. When he was done, he said, “Keep these. They are really beautiful. You can tell this man loved you and had a poetic way of saying it.”
My husband immediately rose to the top of my ladder for respecting my memories. We have been married 37 years and we’re still in love. That lady needs to realize that 95 percent of love is trust. — Memorabilia Keeper in Lisbon, Ohio
Dear Ohio: Your husband is pretty high on our list, too.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 6.5.08