Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 9:06 pm
Dear Annie: My wife of 15 years and I are at an impasse. A year ago, her 30-year-old daughter, “Carol,” moved in with us and brought her dogs along. We are both on fixed incomes, but the added expense and chores don’t seem to bother my wife.
Carol has a good job, but contributes nothing and has absolutely no responsibilities. Her mother and I do her laundry and cook her meals, feed and walk the dogs, and clean up the fur and poop. Carol goes to work and hangs out with her friends. She is living the good life while we do everything for her.
My wife feels she should take care of her daughter, but I think she’s gone overboard. Shouldn’t adult children contribute both financially and by helping out? I have talked this over with my wife, and she will not change her stance. I am seriously thinking of leaving her. Maybe I could find someone willing to take responsibility for me so I can live the good life, too. — Larry Is Losing
Dear Larry: A truly loving parent does not encourage an adult, able-bodied child to live like a little princess in Mom’s house. Your wife is being selfish. If she cared more for Carol’s welfare than her own emotional needs, she’d tell her daughter to find her own place and pay her own bills, and insist that she be responsible and independent. At the very least, Carol should be paying rent and taking care of her dogs, meals and laundry. Explain this to your wife, and tell her how close you are to walking out because she has chosen her grown daughter over her husband.
Dear Annie: I am a 62-year-old widow. Three months ago, I met a very nice gentleman who is a 63-year-old widower. He did some accounting work for me, and since then we’ve become good friends. We are not intimate. He has a lady friend who has lived with him for 25 years. Is he fair game? — Just Wondering
Dear Wondering: Sorry, no. He has a common-law marriage (legally recognized or not), and you would be The Other Woman. If he pursues you without breaking it off with her first, he is cheating. If you pursue him, you are behaving disgracefully. Please look for eligible men elsewhere.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Lost and Confused” and countless other unhappily married people who have written to you.
I am an unhappily married woman who is in love with another unhappily married man. We both have spouses who suffer from bipolar disorder. I married when I was 18 and have not been happy or content for more than half of our 13 years together. Living with someone who is bipolar is like being on an emotional roller coaster. It is physically and mentally exhausting. I have also been emotionally abused since we were engaged. At 18, I didn’t know a spouse should love you and make you feel special, not ignorant and unworthy.
The man I love is 14 years older. Our friendship happened quite by accident, and we are still amazed at how we came to be such an important part of one another’s lives. He is the most caring man I’ve ever met. He has restored my pride and confidence. He is compassionate almost to a fault. I cherish every moment I am with him, and we look forward to a happy future together.
My advice to people in similar situations is: Life is too short to not be happy. Everyone deserves to have love in their life. I am now making positive choices for myself and am much happier for it. I wish all the best in life for our soon-to-be ex-spouses. — Choosing Happiness
Dear Choosing: Living with someone who is bipolar can be exhausting and stressful, and when the person refuses to get professional help, it can become abusive. We cannot fault you for wanting your life to be better.
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 9.2.08