Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My husband has never had a close relationship with his mother. He spent most of his childhood years with his grandparents, who gave him a terrific life. His mom, although still fairly young, lives alone and has few friends.
I often remind my husband to call his mother to see how she’s doing, but he does this only occasionally. She lives barely an hour away, yet we go months without seeing her. Although she and I are polar opposites and have had some disagreements, we care deeply for each other.
I have grandparents nearby whom I help take care of and parents I’m very close to. Is it my responsibility to take care of my mother-in-law even though my husband doesn’t seem to care? Should I leave my husband alone about trying to maintain regular contact with her? — Feeling Guilty
Dear Feeling Guilty: Please continue to stay in touch with your mother-in-law and check up on her now and then, and encourage your husband to do the same. He obviously does not feel a close bond, but he can certainly develop greater affection if he gives it some time and effort. Since he doesn’t know how to have a better relationship with her, we hope you will teach him. It could be very rewarding for all of you.
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 20 years. We have had ups and downs just like any good marriage. Our oldest is leaving for the Army soon and we have three other children.
For the past three years, our relationship has steadily deteriorated. Our sex life is almost nonexistent and our social life is, too. My wife is angry and says hurtful things so often that I have become immune to her words. We have gone for counseling in the past and, to be honest, it made matters worse.
Her lack of affection has pushed me to the edge and I am fed up with it all. I don’t want a divorce, but it seems to be the only alternative left. I dread coming home every night from work. What should I do? — I Am Done in Ohio
Dear Ohio: Has your wife had a complete physical checkup? Aside from the obvious likelihood that some of this is the result of menopause, there could be other medical issues that are interfering with her emotional stability. Call the doctor in advance and alert him or her to the problem. Then get counseling on your own so you can develop some coping skills before you give up entirely.
Dear Annie: “Just Wondering in Southern California” was concerned about her sister-in law’s use of bleach around her children. I thought some of your advice was great (especially the point about never mixing bleach and ammonia). I work on behalf of Clorox and wanted to clarify a few points.
Bleach actually isn’t harmful to the environment when it is used as directed in everyday consumer and commercial tasks such as laundry or in disinfecting surfaces around the home, schools and hospitals. During normal household use and disposal, bleach breaks down primarily into salt and water.
Research shows that bleach is better than vinegar and hydrogen peroxide when it comes to killing the most organisms, including viruses. This is why disinfecting bleach is the primary choice in institutional and health care settings.
The reader’s sister-in-law should also be reminded that bleach should always be used as directed and always stored out of reach of children. — Laura Jacobs, On Behalf of Clorox
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 3.4.10