Dear Annie: My parents have been married nearly 50 years. About six years ago, I suspected my mother of having an affair. I confronted her with my facts and she assured me of her innocence.
Last year, my brother approached me with the same thoughts. After some investigation, we confirmed that Mom was indeed seeing someone. We met with our minister and, through an intervention, told our father of our suspicions and showed Mom pictures of her and her lover that my brother had obtained. She confessed and persuaded my father it was a one-night fling. I later found out from another family member that Mom has carried on this affair for 25 years.
My parents are now in counseling. Mom convinced everyone that she is no longer in contact with this man, but I found out she is still lying. She professes to be a Christian and is in church every time the doors are open, dragging Dad along. He is 71 years old, not in good health and loves her dearly. Where do we go from here? — Two Confused Children in Georgia
Dear Georgia: Nowhere. Your mother is in love with another man, but because she believes in marriage until death, she will not leave your father. Your parents have apparently managed to have a good life. Dad wants to be with Mom and, presumably, she will continue to take care of him. We realize this is not a perfect scenario, but try to accept that it is not your decision to make. Concentrate on being supportive of your father and, if at all possible, try to forgive your mother. It will make Dad’s life easier. Yours, too.
Dear Annie: I live in a rural Midwestern town and apparently it is the norm to keep your doors unlocked all day. Part of the reason for this is to allow unexpected visitors to walk in at any time.
In particular, my boyfriend’s brother will rattle the doorknob and pound on the door if we lock it. Once, he and a friend showed up to see my boyfriend, who was not home, and they peeked in the windows while I was undressing upstairs. When I opened the door, they invited themselves in, watched me as I ate dinner, read my newspaper and used the computer. I didn’t know how to get rid of them without appearing rude. On another occasion, I left the door unlocked and found a very tall and intimidating friend of my boyfriend in the kitchen.
I don’t like unexpected visitors, which seems extremely rude to me, but having to keep the door unlocked is even more distressing. My boyfriend claims this is how he was brought up and refuses to change. Am I making too big a deal of it? — Exposed in My Own Home
Dear Exposed: Your boyfriend is being obtuse. The world is not as safe as it once was and keeping your doors open can be dangerous. We recommend locking the doors when you are home alone, whether day or night, and closing the blinds. Beyond that, please try to be as welcoming as you can manage.
Dear Annie: “Not Impressed in Ottawa” was annoyed that her in-laws always came at least a half-hour late for dinner. That also used to happen to us.
One time, when the dinner hour struck, we decided simply to start without them. When they finally showed up, nearly an hour late, we offered the late arrivals leftovers. We did this in a friendly, polite fashion.
They were never late again, nor were any aunts, uncles, cousins or anyone else who participated in that memorable dinner. Problem solved. — On Time in Moneta, Va.
Dear On Time: This type of behavior modification is a good solution for those who are willing to take a tough stand and stick to it.
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, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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 1.18.08