Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I married my wife, “Debbie,” more than a decade ago. I genuinely believe we were brought together by divine providence. The only thing that troubles me is our children — Debbie’s children from her first marriage. They didn’t get off to a great start — the biological father is a deadbeat dad, philanderer, alcoholic and a repeat-offender criminal. I wish I had been there from the start, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve had a lot of catching up to do.
Debbie’s son is terrific — smart, friendly, talented and putting himself through college. The daughter, however, is a walking soap opera. She’s had two children (one at age 16), several abortions, multiple divorces and broken relationships, and she’s usually strung out on pills and pot. Her current boyfriend is a married man.
The oldest granddaughter lives with her father, who married someone else and has built a solid family. The younger granddaughter (age 11) lives with her mother. The child does all the cooking, housekeeping and grocery shopping. My stepdaughter even tried to get the girl to fake a urine sample for a drug test.
My wife and I are at the end of our rope. We cannot endure anymore of this woman’s drama. We know we can’t fix her, so right now, all we want to do is rescue our granddaughter before her life is ruined. I feel like I’m aiming a squirt gun at a forest fire. How can I help my family? — Stepfather of a Train Wreck
Dear Stepfather: Is the father of this child capable of caring for her? If so, you should encourage him to ask for custody. Barring that, you and your wife ought to consider petitioning for guardianship of your granddaughter. The best way to “rescue” this child is to get her out of her mother’s home and into a stable, loving environment. Please make every effort to do so.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been together for 25 years, and the entire marriage has consisted of his continuous lies about money, gambling and drinking. The latest adventure is his obsession with Internet porn and singles websites.
We attended counseling individually and as a couple. He knew these things were ruining our marriage and vowed over and over to change. Instead, he played me. He would change just long enough for me to forgive him. But I have stopped playing his game. We share a house, and that’s about it.
Years ago, girly magazines were just pictures. Today, there is streaming video of real people who call you by name and can even contact you. After I read the conversations my husband had with other women, any intimacy went out the window. He wonders now why I had a hard time showing him affection. Guys need to stop and think with their hearts and not their computers, and realize the permanent damage these things can do to a marriage. — Over and Out
Dear Over: We agree that Internet porn is a huge problem these days, creating intimacy and trust issues in relationships. Your husband also has other problems and seems unwilling to work on them. So we have to ask — why are you still with him? Please give some serious thought to your alternatives. They might be more attainable than you think.
Dear Annie: This is for “At the End of My Tether in South Dakota,” who is frustrated with her daughter’s filthy room.
The easiest way to deal with this is to tell the daughter that her room is her own business, but she may not have anything in there that can bring vermin into the house. This means no food in her room, and the trash needs to be emptied regularly. Mom should keep the door closed and let the daughter be a slob, but draw a line where it affects the sanitation of the house. It is not about the daughter. It is about health and safety. — Ventura, Calif.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 8.3.11