Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: Once again, my husband is taking a vacation without me. We both work. My job, however, is part time with no paid vacation, and after taxes and paying my student loan, my annual income is $10,000. With that money, I pay a couple of household bills, feed and care for our pets and provide all of our household necessities.
My husband had a free ride to college and now has generous earnings and benefits. At home, I do all of the chores while he runs off to play with his friends. He thinks housework is a woman’s job. His job is to pay the mortgage and utilities. I feel like a live-in maid.
My company would give me unpaid time off for a vacation, but my hubby says it is up to me to pay my own way. So I cannot afford to go with him. I am hurt and angry and feel abandoned. I have conveyed these feelings to him, but it makes no difference. He seems to think this is normal and isn’t willing to go to counseling with me. He does read your column, though, so please help. — Exhausted Wife
Dear Wife: This is not a healthy marriage. Your husband treats you like a distant roommate whom he expects to clean up after him. He’d rather go away without you than help pay for your expenses so you can enjoy a vacation together. Unfortunately, the disparity in your incomes makes it unlikely that he will ever consider you an equal partner, since he doesn’t value the other attributes you bring to the marriage. This is a recipe for divorce. Please get counseling — with or without him — and figure out what, exactly, you are getting out of this arrangement.
Dear Annie: We have two highly intelligent, charismatic grandsons. Their father could not possibly afford to send them to college, so I promised I would pay for their education and buy them each a car for transportation.
The older grandson spent two weeks in college and dropped out. Over the next two years, he put 125,000 miles on the car, got into two accidents and turned it into a piece of junk. He finally decided to get a job and go back to college (at his own expense) and did extremely well. However, he won’t return a telephone call or answer an e-mail. We see him about once a year. We invited him for Christmas dinner, but he never replied.
Our other grandson finished college with a 3.8 GPA and is now teaching school in China. He answers my mail and calls his mother whenever possible.
I have told both grandsons that my will gives them $10,000 each. I have no problem doing this for the second grandson, but am no longer in favor of giving so much money to the older one. Should I avoid giving money to either, or do I give the younger boy the money and not his brother? — What To Do
Dear What: You can do whatever you like with your money. However, you made a promise to these boys, and now you’ve decided to add strings. If getting the money is contingent upon their behavior, you need to tell them so there won’t be any surprises. You might also keep in mind that it throws a wedge into their sibling relationship when one becomes “Grandma and Grandpa’s favorite.”
Dear Annie: I had the same type of relationship with my daughter as “Just for Argument’s Sake,” beginning with her teen years.
Last year, at age 22, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is usually not diagnosed until children are in their late teens or early 20s. Please pass this on. Perhaps it will save someone else the heartache and tears I suffered through. — BTT
Dear BTT: Sometimes argumentativeness can be a symptom of bipolar disorder, especially if it is accompanied by mood swings. But in many instances, taking a contrary position is simply a personality trait and nothing more.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 3.25.10