Posted: Monday, July 18, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been happily married for 10 years. Two years ago, we both lost our jobs, so we moved in with his parents. The problem is, my in-laws are so used to getting their way that they become angry when they don’t. Friends and family members usually give in to avoid a fight. My husband and I, on the other hand, stand our ground.
Last week, we went to dinner at a new restaurant. When the hostess seated us, my father-in-law became upset and quite loud when he did not get a seat with his back against the wall. He demanded that I switch seats with him. When I refused, he yelled and cussed at me. He is like this every time we go out, regardless of the circumstances. He finds fault with everything.
I understand my in-laws are up in age, but I think they go overboard. My husband and I found employment six months ago and are now looking to find our own space. My in-laws get upset every time we look at a house without taking them along. They say they want to be the first ones to see the place. I bought a new car last month, and they were angry because my parents saw the car before they did. They said it meant I was ungrateful that they allow us to live with them.
They have been like this since I have known them. All of this nonsense gets on my husband’s nerves. Mine, too. How can we get his parents to understand that they will not always get their way? — Desperately Needing Our Own Space
Dear Desperate: They already know that. They simply don’t like it. You might be able to change them with a great deal of patience and behavior modification. Otherwise, learn how to deal with them in the way that annoys you least. Switching seats with Dad at a restaurant would have been gracious of you and not a big deal. But there is no reason your in-laws have to be the first to see all potential purchases. Take them when you feel like it, and if they yell, so be it.
Dear Annie: My husband and I recently attended my niece’s evening wedding. We are not well, and I told my sister that I didn’t know how long we could stay. When she told me the wedding cake would be cut at 11:30 p.m., I asked her to bring a slice home for me.
We tried to stick around and managed to sit through the dinner and two dessert courses. When the wedding cake finally came, I discreetly wrapped mine and put it in my bag. My other sister who was sitting next to me went berserk, ranting for several minutes, calling me a stupid, rude, ill-mannered senior citizen. I was mortified and took the cake out of my bag and left it on my plate.
Did I breach an untouchable rule of etiquette by wanting to take my piece of wedding cake home? — Bruised in New York
Dear Bruised: No. In fact, many caterers provide little boxes for precisely that purpose. Your sister was the one who was rude and ill-mannered. Shame on her.
Dear Annie: This is regarding “Turned Off,” the church lady who wrote about the unsightly nose hair of older men.
I am a single woman, age 61. I meet a lot of unattached men in my age bracket, and many of them have terrible hygiene, specifically with their feet, fingernails, nose hair and unkempt beards and moustaches. It is nasty and makes me run for the hills.
When these men ask why I seem so “aloof,” I tell them the truth. I’d rather have a bald guy with a huge belly than one with rotten hygiene. What in the world are they thinking? Didn’t anyone teach them how to look presentable? — Major Turned Off
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 7.18.11