Dear Annie: My fiancé and I have been engaged for four years. I will graduate from college in a year. I have not been working during this time, but I do pay my personal bills. “Joe” has a doctorate and supports my daughter and me.
Joe has a demanding career and works a lot. For the past three years, we haven’t been together for any holidays. Last year, he promised to be home for Thanksgiving, so I canceled plans to visit my family, but then he volunteered to work overtime instead. He promised he’d be home for New Year’s Eve to celebrate with me, but again, he worked overtime.
Joe says it’s worth it because he earns holiday pay, but that doesn’t translate into anything for my benefit. It just allows him to buy more things for himself. I buy the groceries and he’ll buy a new watch.
I appreciate and am thankful that Joe supports us while I’m attending college, but is it wrong to expect him to spend at least one holiday with us during the year? Or to think the extra money he earns should benefit everyone in the household? — Alone in Wisconsin
Dear Alone: Joe believes as long as he puts a roof over your head, the rest of his money belongs to him, and because he likes buying himself things, working overtime is more important than holidays. When you graduate and begin to earn an income, you and Joe should work out a household budget incorporating both your salaries and covering all expenses, and giving each of you some disposable income to spend as you wish. When you are contributing to the household, you will be in a better position to ask Joe to set aside at least one holiday a year for the family.
Dear Annie: I am tired of midriff shirts and low-rise jeans that are super-tight. These clothes are offensive when they are on young girls. It shows the world way too much skin.
We are parents of a preteen, and we are constantly battling to find appropriate clothes for her age and already mature body shape. Please help us bring in fashion that meets the standards of both parents and children. — V.
Dear V.: You are preaching to the choir. The good news is, fashion changes. Low-rise jeans and midriff tops are already on the way out. We’ve printed letters on this subject before, and readers suggested purchasing athletic wear or patronizing stores like Old Navy and Lands’ End, which carry appropriate trendy clothing in all sizes. You also should talk to the managers of the stores where you shop and ask them to stock styles that appeal to parents of young girls, as well as their daughters.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Concerned Sister in Montreal” was missing a vital option to help end the abuse her sister, “Jana,” is enduring from her boyfriend, “Pete.” Others need to intervene in a nonthreatening manner.
Abusive people count on fear or lack of knowledge to keep people from getting involved. First, Jana needs to know she is in no way responsible for his abuse. Additionally, at all opportunities, everyone who knows Pete needs to (in a loving, nonconfrontational but firm manner) let him know they will not tolerate his abusive behavior. (No one should threaten to beat up Pete. That sort of action endangers the victim more, not less.)
I volunteer for Men Against Violence Against Women in Jacksonville, Fla. We have been striving to educate the bystanders of domestic violence for years. Well-informed friends, family and co-workers of the victim and abuser who see the controlling tactics are the best ones to deal with this plague on our society. It’s a shame that so many don’t know what to do or don’t recognize the danger until it’s too late. — Kevin Tarrance, Men Against Violence Against Women (mavaw.org)
Dear Kevin Tarrance: Thank you for the valuable information. We agree that when someone is being abused, others should be aware and informed.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more, visit www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.18.08