Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Sam” for 17 years. I have two grown daughters from my first marriage and a 16-year-old son with Sam.
For all these years, Sam has been the quintessential stable husband and father, working to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. I, too, have worked the entire time. Sam’s disciplinary methods caused many problems in the early days of his stepparenting — with lots of threats of divorce — but we all survived, though not entirely unscathed.
The problem is, I married Sam for his stability and now everything else about him is really getting on my nerves. With an almost-empty nest, I want to get back to the real me — the one who enjoys dinners out, concerts, dancing, travel, the great outdoors, intellectual stimulation, etc. Sam is a couch potato who’s overweight, diabetic and impotent. I can’t stop myself from imagining a better Mr. Right, which makes me open to the possibility of meeting someone else, and that jeopardizes my marriage. So, Annie, if this Mr. Right comes along, should I go? — Lucky but Not Happy
Dear Lucky: After 17 years and a teenage son, don’t you think you owe it to Stable Sam to tell him you are unhappy and would like to see some changes made? You are assuming he is unable or unwilling, but saving the marriage could motivate him. Get some counseling, preferably with your husband, and see what can be fixed.
Dear Annie: A year ago, my husband and I lent my daughter some money to help with her mortgage payments, insurance, etc. She told us she would pay a certain amount each month until the loan was paid up or until she got the settlement she was waiting for.
As I write this, she has not attempted to pay anything. When I bring it up, she yells, “You’ll get your money when I get mine!” She no longer answers the phone when I call, and when I text, she rarely responds. When she does, it is only to bring up things that happened in the past. She hasn’t come right out and said it, but I get the distinct impression that she doesn’t want me in her life anymore.
I am at my wits’ end. She is over 30 and still acts like a defiant teenager. I have already told her I will never again lend her a dime. In the process of trying to help her, I may have lost my daughter. What can I do now? — Trying Too Hard in New York
Dear Trying: This is not about you. It’s about the money. Your daughter either doesn’t have the means to pay you back, or she doesn’t want to. When she thinks of you, all that comes to mind is her guilt. By pushing you away, she also won’t have to part with that settlement money (if she ever gets it). Either chalk this up to a bad loan and let her know she’s off the hook, or insist on repayment and run the risk of an estrangement — whichever result is easier for you to live with.
Dear Annie: “No Name, No Place” said her 60-year-old binge-drinking husband was not an alcoholic.
There are different types of alcoholics: those who drink daily and become physically dependent, and those who go on binges and can have long periods of time when they don’t drink.
As a member of A.A., here’s how it was explained to me: “It’s not how much you drink, or how often, but what happens when you do.” If I only had one drink a day, but that one drink was detrimental to my health or caused me to rage at or be isolated from the people I loved, alcoholism is the likely culprit. — Arlington, Texas
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 3.4.11