Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My fiance and I were best friends growing up, and our families were close, as well. When we were 16, his parents suddenly pulled “Paul” out of school and told me never to call their house again. My mother said Paul was no longer welcome in our home and I was not to mention his family again. I never knew what happened.
Five years later, Paul and I reconnected at college and began dating. Neither set of parents was happy about it. We’ve been together for seven years and recently bought a house and started a veterinary practice together. When we became engaged, everyone in both families was nasty to us, including our siblings.
We’ve tried on multiple occasions to get the families together, but it’s always been a disaster. Nobody will tell us why our families don’t get along. When we ask, we get indignant and childish answers like, “They know what they did” or “What difference does it make?”
We are planning a wedding, but at this point, we’re not inviting the relatives. We’re both fed up and decided to hold a small civil ceremony and then have a night out with friends. His sister found out and blew a gasket, saying I’ve done enough to “ruin” their family and why can’t I leave them alone.
We’d love to have a wedding where people behaved themselves, but that’s not in the cards. Is it wrong to insist they tell us what the feud is about, or should we get over it? We’re so tired of this nonsense. — Not Romeo and Juliet
Dear Juliet: We think it’s time to get to the bottom of this. Since it is affecting your future with Paul, you have a right to understand what is going on. You might also point out that when you and Paul marry, the families will need to put past hurts aside and be civil, or it will be difficult to include them in your life. We hope they can clear the air and get past this.
Dear Annie: My lovely wife has told me I am not to comment to my stepdaughter about the raising of their children. So I quietly sit back and say nothing.
Last night, the extended family dined at a local restaurant. I was fortunate enough to sit across from the two youngest granddaughters, ages 6 and 9. Both were playing games on their iPhones the entire time. I attempted to converse with the older girl, but each time got a quick one-word reply.
Is it too much to ask the younger generation to learn some manners? Maybe they could refrain from using their phones at the dinner table. If they were not family, that would’ve been the last dinner I attend with them. Since I am forbidden to speak, please print this. — California
Dear California: Are the children rude? Yes, absolutely, and their parents ought to tell them to put their phones away at dinner. However, it sounds as if your wife believes such criticism would be resented and might interfere with the relationship. So please say nothing. We know it’s difficult to be around these kids, and if you absolutely cannot manage it, feel free to encourage your wife to attend dinners without you. But we hope you will keep trying to engage the children. This is how they learn.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Amazed in Honolulu,” the married businesswoman who travels a lot and often is hit on by male associates.
You missed the perfect response. She said that when she would go back to her hotel room, she would get calls asking what she was wearing. The perfect answer would be “my wedding ring.” — K.
Dear K.: Fabulous. We hope she uses it next time.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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 3.5.12