Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 10:03 pm
Dear Annie: Three years ago, my husband of 20 years fell in love with another woman. Nothing physical happened between them, but it was definitely an emotional affair. Eventually, she found another job, and my husband and I went into counseling.
In the middle of deciding whether to divorce, I told my mother what had happened. She has never liked “Nate” and this information added to the fuel. Nate and I decided to stay together and our relationship has been much improved. We moved to a distant community and started over with our children.
We recently visited my mother, and she was very rude to Nate and said some terrible things to him. When we returned home, I confronted her about it and she blew up and told me that unless I divorce him, she wants nothing to do with my children or me.
I know my mom is being protective, but Nate is really trying. I believe Mom is looking to cause problems for us. Yes, I sometimes worry he’ll do something stupid again, and trust is occasionally rocky, but I told my mother she needed to butt out of my life — and she has. Completely.
I find I don’t miss her. My childhood did not include many warm family moments. My father was abusive and my mother didn’t protect me. She is difficult and demanding. In the six months since she cut me out, I have enjoyed life more and my marriage is stronger. So why do I feel like a bad daughter? Is it bad if I never mend ties with her? — No State, No Town
Dear No State: Your mother is what’s commonly called “toxic.” It means she is detrimental to your marriage and your emotional health. Your first obligation is to your husband and children. If that means Mom is no longer part of your life, it does not make you a bad daughter. It makes you a good wife and mother. Stop feeling guilty. The choice was hers.
Dear Annie: My husband and I fight every year during the holidays, and frankly, I’ve come to hate them. His parents live around the corner. Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day, you name it, must be spent with them. My in-laws are 70, and my husband thinks every holiday could be their last. He says holidays are about family, but why should I have to spend my holiday with HIS family? My grandmother is 84, my mom is living with a chronic disease, they both live nearby and yet I never get to spend a holiday with them. The best I can do is see them the day before, and my husband doesn’t go with me. When is enough enough? — The Holiday Hater
Dear Holiday: It’s enough. Your husband is being unfair. Most married couples alternate holidays, some have the main celebration at their house and invite both sides, and others ignore the extended families altogether. If your husband insists on spending every holiday at his parents’ home, let him. Join him now and then, but otherwise, go wherever you want.
Dear Annie: “Historian” said spitting contributes to the spread of tuberculosis and we now have a drug-resistant strain. He forgot to mention it has become resistant due to noncompliance with treatment.
A simple annual test can be done to determine whether someone needs further screening to rule out active TB. And if one is given medication, it should be taken as directed for the full length of time. Otherwise, they will only have themselves to blame when the medications cannot treat them later. — Health Care Worker
Dear Worker: This is true of many diseases, not just TB. Doctors have overprescribed, and patients have demanded unnecessary antibiotics for many years, often taking the medication only until they feel better, instead of using up the full amount. The result? Drug-resistant superbugs.
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 11.07.08