Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:04 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our early 30s and have three kids. I am very sociable, but my husband is not. When we were dating, we went to other couples’ homes for cards, pool or darts. His friends were all retirement age, but they still were fun to be around.
Now we’ve moved back to our hometown, and many of our friends are doing the same. This should be a great opportunity to socialize with people our own age, but my husband would rather sit in front of the TV. If I invite people over, he makes everyone feel unwelcome. On the rare occasions when we go out, he accuses me of sleeping with any man I talk to.
I am about to lose my cool. I’m only asking to get together with friends once every month or two, but it’s too much for him. I feel like I’m in jail. I resent his ridiculous accusations, which indicate a lack of respect for me. He will not consider counseling. I have tried for four years. The way he treats me makes me worry that he isn’t the best role model for our kids, but I still believe they need their father. What do I do? — Suffering in N.D.
Dear N.D.: Not everyone is social and there are a variety of reasons why. However, if your husband is unwilling to address the issue and, worse, prevents you from deriving enjoyment from your friends, it is a problem. It’s possible he fears losing you (hence the retirement-age friends) or has an anxiety disorder and the accusations are intended to convince you to stay home with him. You can get more information through the National Institute of Mental Health at 1-866-615-6464.
Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I (both in our 50s) live together. Five years ago, we purchased a home in another state and will move there when he retires in two years. In the meantime, I sold my house and moved into his.
My boyfriend is a widower. He has a large picture of his late wife hanging near the entryway. I asked him to take it down out of respect for me. He says that would be disrespectful to his late wife’s memory. What is your opinion? — Unhappy Housemate
Dear Unhappy: Yes, he should move the picture to a less prominent place. It won’t be disrespectful to his late wife, but leaving it in the entryway is disrespectful to you. It sounds like he may be having some difficulty letting go. You are moving into a new home in two years. Perhaps you can compromise. Leave the picture where it is with the understanding that when you relocate, it will be hung elsewhere. Have something more current ready to replace it. His late wife is no threat to you. Please treat his memories delicately.
Dear Annie: “Tired of Drama” said her adult brother, “George,” claimed to be terminally ill and wanted the parents to remortgage their home in order to give him money. She feared her parents would end up losing their house.
Since the parents have paid off the house, the most logical solution is a reverse mortgage. The only sacrifice would be a reduction in the amount of inheritance she and her siblings would receive from the ultimate sale of the family home.
With a reverse mortgage, the mortgage company buys the house from the parents and pays them a monthly income as long as they live there. When the house is sold, the proceeds go to the mortgage company. My wife and I have a reverse mortgage and our children are fully supportive. Of course, George may not be so supportive, but it still could be the best solution. — Cape Coral, Fla.
Dear Cape Coral: Reverse mortgages are loans paid back from the equity on your home. A monthly sum isn’t likely to satisfy George, so the parents would have to take a lump sum upfront, which can be quite costly in fees. And if the parents don’t keep up with the taxes and insurance, they could default. However, it is definitely an option worth looking into. Thanks.
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 6.24.08