Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 8:43 pm
Dear Annie: For the past 20 years, it’s been my husband’s dream to bring his sister and her three children to the United States from a Third World country. After spending our life’s savings and countless hours of paperwork, they are here.
My sister-in-law is a wonderful woman and I love her, but her two boys (12 and 18) have no respect for anyone or anything. We bought our dream house last year and it’s slowly being destroyed. No matter how many times we have explained respect to them, they laugh. My sister-in-law has disciplined them and they think she’s funny, too. I’m starting to think they have some kind of mental disability.
Another problem is, we have a small compact car and family outings mean there’s no room for me. My husband has promised one hour out of every week so we can have time for the two of us, but it’s been 12 weeks of nothing. I’m sinking deeper into depression, and my doctor has put me on antidepressants.
Our friends say they miss me, but enjoy my husband’s sister. He likes showing her off to our friends. I’m sick at heart. What can I do? — Neglected Wife
Dear Wife: The novelty of having your sister-in-law around will wear off eventually, but for the moment, you will have to find ways to deal with the situation. Is this a temporary visit or a permanent arrangement? If it’s temporary, put up with as much as you can. If she is planning to remain in the United States, help her apply for a green card so she can get a job and her own apartment as soon as possible. We doubt the children have suddenly become mentally disabled. Discipline should include having privileges removed or being confined to their room. They also should do chores to repay the cost of broken items. Then put your foot down with your husband. He needs to know your marriage is suffering, and he has a responsibility to work on it. He’s put his sister first for 12 weeks. It’s your turn.
Dear Annie: I am a 23-year-old man, still in school. I am asexual, and what bothers me is the number of people who automatically assume that because I don’t go running after girls, I must be gay.
I prefer hanging out with my friends, male and female. Even so, my parents, siblings and friends have all asked at some point whether I am gay. I tell them the truth, but none of them believes me. I’ve tried to make a joke out of it, but it’s starting to get annoying. How can I make them understand? — Not Interested
Dear Not: People generally understand “gay,” but they have trouble with “asexual.” You shouldn’t need (or try) to defend who you are, but you can educate the people closest to you. Contact AVEN, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, at asexuality.org for information and support.
Dear Annie: “Totally Lost” was finding it hard not to flirt with other women because his wife had put on weight and refused to exercise.
I, too, am in my early 40s, have a lovely wife, three kids and a great job. Has my wife’s appearance changed? Of course. So has mine. While I exercise and am fit, I certainly don’t look like I did the day we met. What I realize is that together we are raising three great kids and as “a team” we make the world go round. Even though my wife’s appearance has changed, I think she is as beautiful as the day I met her. Maybe more.
I agree he needs to see a counselor, but mostly to help him see what he has right there in front of him — a beautiful woman who works hard all day in order to make sure he, the kids and the household are taken care of. What more could anyone ask for? — Lucky To Have It So Good
Dear Lucky: We are sure many women would love to clone you.
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 7.22.08