Dear Annie: Recently, our daughter and her boyfriend set up housekeeping. Both are in their early 20s. Yes, I understand they are free to make their own decisions at this point in their lives. On the other hand, I feel obligated to express my strong disagreement. Simply saying I don’t believe in cohabitation is not good enough in my book. I think our values deserve a better defense than that.
So, I am putting off visiting my daughter’s new home until their wedding, which is about 18 months away. I’ll visit them anywhere else and they can visit me. My family and friends think I’m being inflexible and hardhearted. How can I keep them off my back? — Old-Fashioned in Kentucky
Dear Old-Fashioned: You are not obligated to justify your moral stance to these people. It’s between you and your daughter. You are not asking or expecting her to change her current living arrangement. You simply don’t approve and are uncomfortable giving the impression that you do. This is your choice, old-fashioned or not. The proper response when someone offers unsolicited (and unappreciated) advice is, “Thanks for your opinion.”
Dear Annie: A friend of mine had a baby three months ago. The baby was born with multiple problems and, sadly, passed away last weekend. There will be a memorial service and a funeral.
I am not sure whether I should attend. We have been friends for nearly 20 years and I love her like a sister, but I have four beautiful, healthy children and I don’t want it to appear as though I’m throwing it in her face. She deserves so much better.
What do I do? Should I go and offer my sympathy, or do I wait and see if she wants it? I don’t want her to resent me later. Please help. — Heartfelt Sadness in Ohio
Dear Ohio: Please go to the funeral and memorial service. If your friend resents others with healthy children, this cannot be helped, but if you don’t support her during this time, she may not forgive you. Also, consider making a donation in her child’s name to a charity of her choice or one that is appropriate to the circumstances. Please express your sincere condolences and be as much of a friend as she will permit. You also can suggest that she contact SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support (nationalshareoffice.com) at 1-800-821-6819.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Doing My Best,” who said he did all kinds of wonderful things in order to get his wife to have sex with him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my husband wrote it.
You are right that he is pressuring his wife. During our 30 years of marriage, my husband has planned romantic moments and intimate getaways and has always, and I mean always, missed the mark. Why? This man has no interest in me other than for sex. Every conversation includes a mention of sex. If I ask him to do something, his response is, “What are you going to do for me?” He has told me he has no interest in my day or what I think. He regularly makes demeaning comments about my roles as wife, mother and teacher.
My advice to “Doing My Best” would be to back off. Continue to plan those activities with only a hope of reciprocation. Remember it’s about what you are giving, not getting. Maybe your wife will see that you are sincere and want to improve your relationship. Sit with her, talk with her, listen to her. Limit the physical contact to a hug or hand holding. You definitely aren’t getting any sex now, so what do you have to lose? (I’ve tried to explain this to my husband, but he thinks he’s entitled and I am just being stubborn and controlling.) — Pressured Wife
Dear Pressured Wife: Your husband sounds particularly self-centered, but your suggestions are good ones. Everyone needs to feel valued beyond the bedroom.
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 on 11.15.07