Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 10:22 pm
Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 17 years and have a 16-year-old son. My husband leaves for work at 5 a.m. and doesn’t get home until after 7 p.m. He eats in the family room and watches TV until he nods off. He rouses himself for bed around 10, and if I’m still awake, we’ll have 10 minutes of conversation before he falls asleep.
I’ve always run carpool for our son, but on those rare occasions when I got in a jam and had to ask my husband to pick him up from school, you would have thought I was asking for a lung. Even on his days off, my husband goes to the office “to read the paper and drink coffee” and then plays golf, getting home around noon. By then, I’m exhausted. I have a chronic pain condition and the narcotics make me tired.
I am sick of feeling uninteresting, unloved and second-class. Due to the chronic pain, I cannot work. I feel so trapped. I do not qualify for disability, and my husband’s income is too high for me to qualify for any other assistance.
I asked my husband to read some books on marriage, but he says he doesn’t understand what they are talking about. He’s not interested in counseling. Is this abuse? Am I just being a complainer? Is this how all marriages are? — Desperate Housewife
Dear Desperate: Of course not. It sounds like your husband is trying to escape his life at home, including his relationship with you and your son. It may have started when the responsibilities of being a husband and father first overwhelmed him, but it wasn’t addressed at the time and now avoidance is habitual and expected. He doesn’t sound eager to change this pattern, so you will have to do most of the work — again.
If you can get your husband to go for marriage counseling, that would be best. Explain that since he didn’t understand the books on marriage, counseling will make things clearer. If he won’t go, go without him.
Dear Annie: My partner and I have great jobs, a lovely home and a large circle of friends. We entertain quite often, and most guests bring a bottle of wine, dessert, etc., or they reciprocate by having us over to their homes.
The problem is that we have a friend who is a priest. “Father John” always comes empty-handed. He has no problem eating our food and drinking our liquor but never brings a thing or offers to take us out in repayment. Recently we invited Father John and his two brothers over for dinner. One brother brought an appetizer and the other brought wine. Father John brought another priest, also empty-handed.
I think this behavior is so rude that I no longer want to invite him. Are priests held to a different standard? Is there a polite way to let Father John know he’s inconsiderate? — Frustrated in Indiana
Dear Indiana: Most priests are given a small salary. Some give the money away through charity or tithing, but not all. If Father John is accumulating savings, he should bring a small gift when he is a repeat guest, but he may not have the money, or he may not realize you expect anything. Still, the point of inviting someone to your home is not to receive gifts. It is for the enjoyment of his company.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Sharon” claims that “stupidest” is not part of the English language.
I’ve been using that word for years, so I checked my 1996 edition of Webster’s Unabridged. Webster begs to differ with Sharon. Both “stupider” and “stupidest” are shown under “stupid.” Let he (or she) who is without sin throw the first stone. — Vlad
Dear Vlad: Some dictionaries list words that have fallen into popular usage, even though they are not grammatically correct. This means if everyone starts saying “between you and I,” it will eventually be accepted as proper, even though it makes us cringe.
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 10.21.08