Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am in my late 40s, have a good career, am well-respected and well-educated, and have many friends and acquaintances. I keep in reasonable shape. I love my son, my siblings and my mother, and always want to do the best I can.
The problem is “Janice,” my 41-year-old wife of two years. She criticizes me constantly. I can’t wash the dishes, empty the trash, drive a car, eat my food, buy the groceries, sleep or blow my nose without her berating me for doing it wrong or irritating her in the process.
Her criticism extends to my 11-year-old son from my first marriage. He is a great kid who does as he is told without talking back or giving any attitude. He gets good grades and is never in trouble. He stays with us every other weekend. When he is here, I know my wife will be moody and unfriendly toward him.
Janice also gossips negatively about my friends and their wives, and then wonders why she isn’t invited to their social events. My wife has a terrific career, but whines constantly about her job. Other than her sister, she doesn’t have close friends.
Janice and I argue a lot, mostly because I have grown tired of her knocking everything I do. The only reason I stay is because I do not want to be labeled a two-time loser in the marriage department. I have threatened to walk out more than once, but each time she claims she will be nicer and I believe it.
Janice seemed warm and fun when we first began dating. Now I wonder how our relationship evolved into this mess. I have thought about counseling, but when she barks at me, I can only think of running away. What do I do? — Tired of Walking on Eggshells
Dear Tired: You must first protect your son from Janice’s criticism. Insist she treat him with kindness and decency. Otherwise, quite frankly, you’d be better off if she left the house on those weekends so you can spend time with your son. Counseling is still a good idea. It can help you verbalize your frustration instead of becoming too angry to be effective. It also can help Janice understand how her constant negativity and criticism undermine your relationship. Please try it.
Dear Annie: A few months ago, I had an infected tooth extracted. It had a gold crown. When I told the dentist that I would like to have the tooth, he told me that I couldn’t because it was infected. I accepted that because I was too overwhelmed from going through this lengthy, uncomfortable procedure.
Now, I am getting more and more upset. It was my tooth. At least I should have gotten back the gold crown. I paid quite a bit for it. What do you think? — The Tooth Fairy
Dear Tooth: According to our dentists, an infected tooth is considered biohazardous material and needs to be incinerated along with other medical waste. To extricate the gold from the crown would be time consuming and not worth the effort for the small amount of gold involved. If this explanation doesn’t help, the American Dental Association recommends contacting your state or local dental association to resolve the dispute.
Dear Annie: I laughed when I read your answer to “My Two Cents’ Worth,” saying some newlyweds combine their names to form a new one, giving genealogists fits. If you try to track down a French-Canadian family, you will find out how hard it is. They use what are called “dit” names, meaning “called” or “said.”
In my family, for example, I have discovered that Cyr is also known as Crock; Corbin was LaCroix; Gagnon has about a dozen variants, including Savage. Don’t even get me started on the Scots side of my family. My mother’s maiden name has so many variants it would drive you up a wall. — West Haven, Conn.
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 1.3.11