Posted: Friday, December 5, 2008 9:12 pm
Dear Annie: I’ve been married 34 years. My husband is a soccer fan, as in fanatic. When our children were growing up, he would either play or coach five days a week. On Sundays he would get to the field at around 8 a.m. and leave after 5 p.m.
He is not very close to our children because he never had time for them. Even now, soccer comes first. My son was over last night to pick up my grandson. He asked his dad if they could watch the football game together, and my husband said no because he was watching a soccer match.
I am tired of this and frustrated that he doesn’t see what he is losing. I know I probably cannot change him, but is there any way to get him to open his eyes before it’s too late? — Sick of Soccer
Dear Sick: Probably not. Your husband may know that he is sacrificing his relationship with his children, but he is unwilling or unable to change his ways. Some time ago, he decided to put his energies into soccer. Now it may frighten him to be more emotionally available to his children. He doesn’t know how.
You can talk to him, gently and with sympathy, explaining that his children still need him, but he has to give them the opportunity to get close. It doesn’t require anything other than recording the soccer game to watch later. If he is unwilling, there’s not much else you can do, but please don’t make him a subject of derision to your children.
Dear Annie: My hubby and I bought my parents’ house five years ago. The problem is, ever since we moved in my mother thinks she still owns the place. She walks in on us all the time, and I don’t quite know how to tell her she is being rude. Just last week, I was out grocery shopping while my husband was in bed sick with a cold. He was awakened by my mother standing in front of him asking where I was. He became irate and told her not to do that ever again. Now she won’t return my calls.
The difficult part is that my mother is very generous and loves to buy things for my kids, and that’s why she stopped by that day. She had clothes for them. Do I say, “Thank you so much for the clothes, but next time ring the doorbell”? I think it sounds terribly ungrateful. Can you help me find a better way to communicate this message to her? — Daughter of an Intrusive Mother
Dear Daughter: Your mother’s generosity doesn’t give her the right to intrude on your privacy. Tell her, “Mom, we love you dearly and appreciate everything you do for us, but you really have to ring the bell before coming into the house. You scared Bob half to death.” If Mom still doesn’t get the picture, we recommend using the deadbolt on your doors or changing the locks.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Dumbfounded in Florida,” who was pressured by fundraisers. I recently had an experience that left me angry. The sales pitch started with, “As a woman, we know you are interested in finding a cure for breast cancer.” I interrupted to say, “My interest now is finding a cure for glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly type of brain cancer, which my husband has and where my charitable contributions are going.” She responded, “I am so sorry about your husband, but as a woman don’t you feel obligated to support breast cancer research?”
How dare a solicitor question my right to choose to champion a different cause? My husband has survived two years with a monster of a disease. The average life span for a person diagnosed with GBM is six to 15 months. These people need to stop using pressure tactics that are offensive or hurtful. — Wife of a GBM Warrior
Dear Wife: After reading your letter, we hope these fundraising groups will be more sensitive in their tactics. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband.
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 12.5.08