Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 8:47 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married to “Dan” for a year. My mother-in-law, “Mabel,” has never accepted me and let me know it at our wedding. She showed up in a black dress complete with mourning veil. Dan told me that was just her way and asked that I let it pass, which I did until she sent us an anniversary card addressed to Dan and me, with my first name followed by my maiden name, even though she knows I use Dan’s last name.
Last week she sent me a birthday card addressed the same way. This time she included a note saying I should get my junk out of her house because her property is not a yard sale. Mabel has nothing in her home that belongs to me. To top it off, she told a good friend that I am not her daughter-in-law, but only “that trash across town her son made the mistake to marry.”
The next day, Mabel had a doctor’s appointment and I was the only one able to drive her, so suddenly I turned into her best friend.
I do not want to associate with this woman anymore, but feel I should for my husband’s sake. What do you say? — Unwanted Daughter-in-Law
Dear Unwanted: We say allow a little more time to win her over. Mabel sounds like a major pain in the behind, but she is your husband’s mother, and if you can find a way to get along with her, you will be better off. If you are unfailingly kind and helpful, especially if she is forced to rely on you, it will make her less likely to be malicious. Your husband should take your side if Mom badmouths you, making it clear, nicely, that the price for nastiness is less contact. It will take some time to reach the point where Mom appreciates you, but we hope you’ll give it a shot.
Dear Annie: My husband has a home-based machinery business that involves a lot of dirt and grease. Every day, he, his son and grandson come in for lunch (which I make) with filthy clothes, shoes, hands, etc.
I finally got them to remove their shoes. But after they eat, they sprawl out on our good furniture and nap. I’ve had to cover the sofas and chairs so they aren’t ruined. These men have no concept of cleaning up after themselves or taking care of the furnishings.
They’ve promised to eat in the shop, but it hasn’t happened, and when I keep asking, it makes me look like the bad guy. Our family room is no place for dirty workers. Please help. — Frustrated in Indiana
Dear Indiana: It serves no purpose to keep asking for something you apparently aren’t going to get. You have a couple of choices. You can bring their lunch to them, keeping them out of the house. Bolt the door if you think they’ll come in for a nap. You could even set up lawn chairs in the shop so they’ll have a place to lie down. Or, you can cover the furniture with plastic sheets so they don’t stain the sofas. Work with whatcha got.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Shell Shocked,” who said his wife of 25 years left abruptly, and he learned of nine other wives doing the same. I am one of them.
I’ve been married 16 years and recently left. It was not planned. I had a good marriage, but felt I had lost myself. There was something missing — me. I went on a journey of self-discovery, lost weight, went back to school and am looking for a job. On the surface, my husband supported me, but behind closed doors he was different. “Shell Shocked” should wish his wife the best of luck and move on. — Found What Was Missing
Dear Found: Several women have said they left because they needed to “find themselves.” We just think it would be nice if Hubby had an inkling that they were looking.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 9.9.08