Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 9:43 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for two years. I recently found out he has been using his parents’ credit card for years. When I saw their card a year ago, I asked about it and was told it was only for emergencies. But, Annie, in the past two months he has charged almost $2,000 to their account. I asked what he spent the money on and he claims he doesn’t remember. He won’t give me the credit card statement. He said, “It’s between me and my parents,” and his mother agrees.
We both work full time. While money is tight, we have a decent income. I have asked him repeatedly to work with me on a budget, but he won’t. I am outraged. He continued to take money out of our joint account while running up these bills. Where is it all going? Either he is charging items he shouldn’t, or charging basics and using the cash for something he shouldn’t. I don’t understand why his parents are protecting him instead of encouraging him to be open with me.
I am ready to pack my bags, but I don’t want to cause more upheaval for my kids. I have been very vocal about his dishonesty and his parents’ enabling behavior. What next? — Broke, Broken and Distrusting
Dear Broke: Who is paying the bill for these charges? Is it possible your husband is buying things for his parents? We agree that your husband should be sharing this information with you, but if his parents are footing the bill, we’d leave it alone. If, however, the money is coming from your family finances, you are entitled to know what’s going on.
Dear Annie: My wife, “Sara,” is a bright, educated woman and a successful attorney. She has many fine qualities, but she is a conversational bully. She has a terrible habit of interrupting people and cutting them off in mid-sentence.
This is really causing a strain on our marriage. I am constantly embarrassed by her rudeness, which has caused harm to our relationships with other couples. When she behaves like this, she becomes completely unattractive to me and she senses as much.
Sara is an only child who is idolized by her parents and, in their eyes, can do no wrong. I have tried countless times to talk with her about this, but she becomes defensive and insists I am hypersensitive. She can’t see how this alienates our friends. I don’t know how else to make it clear that her actions are unacceptable. — Out of Patience in the Southeast
Dear Out of Patience: Sara never learned proper social interaction and doesn’t understand what she is doing wrong or how to fix it. She becomes defensive because you are criticizing her. Try a different tack.
Explain lovingly that she has many interesting things to say, but other people need to have a turn as well. The most polished conversationalists are also the best listeners and they make the other person feel like the center of attention. She needs to know how much more attractive and gracious she is, not only to you but to others, when she focuses attention away from herself. If she refuses to work on this, ask her to discuss it with a counselor.
Dear Annie: “In Distress” said his beautiful wife had gained 100 pounds in two years. It felt as though he was married to an alcoholic.
I, too, had an addictive relationship with food. I found a way to live a happier life through Overeaters Anonymous and have been a normal weight now for over 20 years. OA is based on the same 12 steps as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are meetings in almost every community. — C.M. in California
Dear C.M.: Overeaters Anonymous has helped many of our readers who have food addictions. The address is Overeaters Anonymous (oa.org), P.O. Box 44020, Rio Rancho, NM 87174-4020.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 12.31.08