Dear Annie: We are moving soon and our new home is less than two miles from my sister, “Celia.” Celia is newly divorced after 49 years of marriage. The problem? She has a gentleman friend and the two of them are all over each other all the time, whether in our house, her house or out in public. She also discusses intimate details of the relationship with our adult daughter. Celia is in her late 60s and her boyfriend is 72. You would think they’d know better.
It makes all of us very uncomfortable to be around Celia and her beau, and I worry it will cause a major problem now that we will be living closer to her. Should I discuss it with my sister? Our daughter already said something to her aunt about not liking this behavior and Celia’s response was, “It shouldn’t bother you.” Celia also drinks a bit. Please advise soon. The movers are coming. — Too Much PDA
Dear Too Much: Celia feels young again and wants everyone to know it. The drinking doesn’t help because it further loosens her inhibitions. We strongly recommend you ignore this as much as possible. If the two of them are overly demonstrative, say, “You obviously need your privacy. We’ll see you later.” And show them to the door or, if you are somewhere else, leave. When she confides intimate details, your daughter should tell her, “Aunt Celia, I don’t care to hear this. I’ll talk to you another time.” If you remove yourself from her presence, she can’t annoy you. Rest assured, the novelty of having a boyfriend will wear off soon enough.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been together for 13 years. We have three children and a huge problem. Every three or four years, someone in his family (mainly his mother and one of his sisters) can’t stand that everyone is getting along and decides to create a mess, and it’s always somehow my fault.
Four days before Christmas, my in-laws stopped speaking to us because of something I supposedly said three years ago. I have no idea what they are talking about but apologized anyway. By their own choice, they will be out of my children’s lives for the moment. I offered to overlook this behavior again, even though my children are sad, but my husband insists we are all better off without them. We still are in contact with his brother and his family.
How many times do I have to endure this ridicule before I can say I’ve tried my best? — Irritated
Dear Irritated: You’re done. Your in-laws thrive on drama because it brings them attention. They like to see you grovel, but you don’t need to keep apologizing over and over. It helps enormously that your husband is supportive, so just ride this one out. If they want to see the grandchildren, they know how to reach you.
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to readers who believe divorce always leaves children bitter and hating one parent or both.
My parents have fought ever since I can remember. They even separated for a few years, filed for divorce, and my mother had an affair. They eventually got back together and it took me a very long time to forgive them both — for not getting divorced. They were both happier and more fun to be around when they were apart. My sister and I spent more time with Dad when he didn’t live in the same house.
Ten years later, I have a distant relationship with both parents. When I talk to them, they complain about each other. I’m sure there are other children out there who, like me, are — Wishing They Got a Divorce
Dear Wishing: It’s true that in some cases, the children are better off when they are no longer living through the unhappy marriage of their parents.
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, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.4.08