Posted: Thursday, November 4, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 13 years. We have a son we both adore. About five years ago, I made a career switch. It was a tough time for us financially, and it put a strain on our relationship. I thought we were pulling out of it OK, but just as I got my new career going, my wife started to become distant. I immediately asked her to come with me for counseling, and over a seven-month period, we learned to communicate and problem-solve better as a couple.
Unfortunately, in every other way, things have gotten worse. My wife resisted the counseling, so we no longer go. She now recoils when I touch her. Last week, after I returned from a conference, she said she discovered that she enjoyed not having me around.
I feel trapped. I love her. I love my son. I want to be with both of them as a family. Yet, without my wife’s love, friendship and intimacy, I feel lonely, empty and frustrated. Based on our work in therapy, I’ve tried to take responsibility for things about myself that inhibit intimacy, but it doesn’t help if she won’t cooperate. What else can I do? Is divorce the only option left? — West Coast
Dear West Coast: Too many couples rush into divorce when, in many instances, a little time can resolve the problem or at least clarify the decision that needs to be made. Get a legal separation. Either you or your wife should move into a place nearby so you can spend time with the children and continue to do things as a family, such as celebrate birthdays and holidays together. The other spouse remains in the family home with the children so they are not uprooted. This allows everyone time to adjust and figure out, slowly, whether the arrangement should become permanent or not.
Dear Annie: My grandmother lives with my parents. I also live with my parents and pay rent. I once found Grandma looking for her winter nightgown in my bedroom drawers. We do use some of the drawers in my bedroom for storage, but she was systematically looking through every single one. It upset me.
My parents sided with my grandmother. I tried to point out that it would be unreasonable for them to go through the drawers of a tenant, but they insist it’s their house and they can look anywhere they like.
Annie, I’m not hiding anything, but I would like them to understand the legal ramifications of going through the drawers of someone who is paying rent. — Privacy Advocate
Dear Advocate: Do you plan to take Grandma to court? You are a member of the household who contributes for utilities, meals and laundry. That said, no one should be going through your drawers unless they have reason to believe you are hiding illegal substances. Either move Grandma’s stuff out of your bedroom, or start looking for another place to live.
Dear Annie: I spent 10 years in college as a student. I now teach at a college and plan to recycle my body to research and organ donation. This is my choice, not that of my relatives. I will give each of them something to remember me by before I die, and if they want to have a service, they may do so.
My son will have less to clean up because I will have given most of it away. And sorry, Mom. I know you would prefer to place me in a casket for all to see and then cremate me afterward like you did with Dad. But my choice was made when I registered the donation of my body with www.livingbank.org to be an organ donor. — Recycling Myself
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 11.4.10