Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: My fiancée, “Beth,” and I have been together for more than two years. Recently, she called off our wedding, saying she isn’t ready. The wedding was planned for a year in the future, so I am grateful she told me now.
A few weeks later, we decided to take a break and work on the relationship. We live in separate houses. Beth has a full-time job. I am in school and work part time. We used to see each other every day. Now, although we still talk daily, I only see her twice a week at most.
Beth is talking to a counselor about her issues, and we have started couples counseling. One of our main problems is that she becomes distant when things aren’t going well and subconsciously pushes me away. I have never loved and trusted anyone as much as I do her. How can I support and help her? — Confused in California
Dear Confused: You already are being supportive by attending counseling sessions and not pushing Beth to make decisions any sooner than she is able. We hope counseling will help you reach a satisfactory resolution. If so, your relationship will be stronger than ever. But please understand it is also possible that underlying issues will come to light and one of you might decide that marriage is not in the cards. This is neither good nor bad. It is simply how things sometimes work out.
Dear Annie: I have a former school friend, “Paula,” who has lived in another state for 30 years. She and her husband visit relatives in our area once or twice a year. She has hinted that they would like to stay overnight at our house. We have one guest bedroom, but my husband uses it as his bedroom. We would rather Paula not know that we have separate bedrooms.
I would like Paula and her husband to visit our home but find lodging elsewhere. She is always inviting us to stay with them, and we turn the offers down because if we accepted, we would be obligated to return the favor. What can we do? — Prefer Privacy
Dear Prefer: Do some legwork and find hotels or motels nearby. (We assume there are reasons she cannot stay at the homes of her various relatives.) You are not obligated to put them up at your house. It’s OK to say, “We wish we could accommodate you, but it is simply not possible. However, there’s a lovely motel a few miles away, and we’d be thrilled to pick you up and bring you here for dinner.”
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “Bruised in Nebraska,” the 12-year-old boy who said his brother yelled at him and hit him, and whose mother refused to get involved. Your answer wasn’t strong enough. It is possible the writer’s brother is, in fact, an abuser in the making, and the mother is in denial. So what if he provokes his brother? The boy has to learn that he cannot hurt anyone, regardless of provocation. Avoiding him will not solve the problem.
The only helpful advice you gave was to talk to the school counselor and his doctor. Hopefully, “Bruised” will seek guidance before the brother does something that cannot be undone. — Los Angeles, Calif.
Dear Los Angeles: Many readers were upset because we said siblings can provoke each other into hitting. Others said the brother was mentally ill. Many readers assumed “Bruised” was female and should be treated the same as a spousal abuse victim.
Since we didn’t have that much information, we treated this as a sibling rivalry that was getting out of hand, and since the parents were doing nothing, the school authorities and the family physician would be the best way to report it. We appreciate our readers’ concern and hope “Bruised” follows through.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email 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 11.1.11