Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 10:03 pm
Dear Annie: My daughter, “Alicia,” is married and pregnant. The problem is, her husband is very abusive and I fear for her life. She is young and he is her first love, and she will not leave him even though she could be in danger. Alicia will not have anything to do with the family because we will not accept her husband.
I will be away for several months. My hope is that after the baby is born, her motherly instincts will kick in and she will leave to protect her child. Alicia has sent me an invitation to her baby shower. Should I give in and try to tolerate him for the sake of my daughter and my unborn grandchild? I thought she would come spend time with me, even though her husband isn’t welcome, but I can see that is not working. I believe he has complete control of her and that she is a prisoner. What should I do? — Distraught Mother
Dear Distraught: Because you refuse to accept Alicia’s husband, she feels she must defend him. That makes her avoid you, which in turn makes her more vulnerable to his abuse since there is no one watching out for her. You aren’t expected to like this man, but shunning him means you won’t see your daughter. She needs you. Please go to the baby shower. Be polite to him and loving to her. Let her know she can come to you, with the baby, whenever she needs to. In the meantime, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) and ask what you can do.
Dear Annie: I am a middle-aged woman. My only child recently passed away in a car accident. Now, my husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Although I am trying to be optimistic, the outlook for his recovery is bleak.
The only family members I have are some first cousins and a few distant relatives. I want to become closer to them, but I would hate to call and say, “My husband is most likely dying and I am scared of being lonely.” Do you have any suggestions on how I can approach those family members without sounding selfish? — Need Some Support
Dear Need: This must be a terribly difficult time for you. It’s perfectly OK to contact relatives to let them know what is going on in your life. Please consider sending holiday cards this season. Include a personal, handwritten note telling your relatives about your child and your husband, and add that you have gained an appreciation for the importance of family and hope to be closer to them in the future. Follow that up with a phone call or e-mail to ask how they are doing. You also can benefit from contacting The Compassionate Friends (compassionatefriends.org), an organization for those whose children have died, at 1-877-969-0010.
Dear Annie: I read the responses to “DPN” about why men cheat. The replies made me curious about how I was treating my own husband. They made me ask: “Do I appreciate him enough?” “Do I show him enough affection?” and “What have I done for my marriage lately?”
Then I discover my husband is too tired for sex, prefers time at the office to time with his family, doesn’t want to go out to dinner or see a movie, runs odd errands and is shady about earning extra money. This behavior causes stress and has even made me wonder whether I’d be a better wife if I let another man take care of my needs for a while. To cheat may seem like a great idea to keep you sexually satisfied while preserving your marriage, but it really destroys it. Those aren’t the vows I took the day I married my best friend. — Pessimistic Optimist in Casper, Wyo.
Dear Casper: Your husband is hiding something from you, and this is making you bitter and insecure. Please get some counseling — with or without him.
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 11.10.08