Posted: Monday, September 3, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My daughter, “Grace,” is 48 years old and recently divorced from her husband after 23 years of marriage. They have no children. My wife and I liked her husband, but he never wanted to work for anyone. He always thought he could run his own business and could never manage it. After they’d been married 10 years, we told Grace that she should get some counseling or get a divorce.
A few years ago, Grace met some jerk online who thinks he’s God’s gift to the world. “Barry” is divorced and has three daughters. We didn’t know about him until we helped Grace get settled into a nice apartment. That’s when Barry moved in. He’s been there for two years and doesn’t have a job, nor is he looking for one. He is on disability benefits and says it’s not costing Grace anything to house him. Barry has insulted my wife and me and says we don’t love our daughter. None of our family members wants to be around him, which makes holidays tough.
When she was married, Grace used to spend most weekends outdoors with her husband. Now all she does is sit around in pool halls so Barry can shoot pool. He is so heavy, he can barely walk. Grace doesn’t like to be alone, and this is the only reason we can see that she keeps Barry around. We sought information on him online, but couldn’t find anything. He said he would know if anyone tried to look him up on the Internet. This seems vaguely threatening. How can we talk to her about this without upsetting her too much? — Loving Dad
Dear Dad: We understand your concern, but you seem overly involved in your grown daughter’s love life, which may be contributing to the drama. She knows you are there to clean up after her, so she has not learned to exercise good judgment or deal with the consequences of her choices. Tell her you love her and only want the best. Suggest she get counseling to understand why she is attracted to this type of man. Then let her live her life without your cushion. Yes, there may be rough times. Listen sympathetically, but do not step in and rescue her. These are her decisions, and the results are her responsibility.
Dear Annie: My two daughters think nothing of letting their opposite-sex children run around naked, alone or with a group of family members. These two cousins also bathe and use the bathroom together. The boy is 8, and the girl is 7.
Is this acceptable behavior, or should they be told to keep their clothes on? — Perplexed Grandma
Dear Grandma: These kids are a little too old to be running around naked in public and sharing baths. Suggest to your daughters that they teach the children about respecting their bodies before one of them hits puberty.
Dear Annie: “Con-cerned” is right to be concerned about her sister’s memory lapses. My mother has dementia, and I am up on the signs. Treatment should be sought sooner rather than later. There are mental acuity tests to determine whether there really is a problem, and if so, there are medications that can slow down the progression of this disease.
Tell her to make an appointment with a neurologist. Help her understand that an evaluation is in her best interests. If she won’t go, “Concerned” should talk to her doctor before her next visit. She can go along and give the doctor a note expressing her concerns. — I’m There
Dear There: A certain amount of forgetfulness is not cause for alarm. But if her sister’s memory lapses are severe and interfere with functioning, a visit with a doctor will help. Thanks.
Annie’s Snippet for Labor Day (credit Sophocles): Without labor nothing prospers.
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Published in The Messenger 9.3.12