Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our late 60s and have been married for six years. We were both widowed. We have a great deal in common and are happy together.
Our one bone of contention is her daughter. “Justine” is in her late 30s, married and living overseas. Yet every time she visits, she expects to get picked up and dropped off at the airport, despite the major problems that driving both ways can cause for us. Hints that she might want to get a taxi are blissfully ignored.
When she comes without her husband, she reverts to being an irresponsible teenager, treating the house and its contents as if she had never left. She comes and goes as she pleases, helps herself to the fridge contents, takes over our cellphone, uses our car without filling the gas tank and hogs the computer to carry on long, loud conversations, all without a thought for the disruption she is causing.
Her mother apparently doesn’t see anything wrong with this. Justine has just left after a two-week visit and did not put her hand into her purse once the entire time, not even at the coffee shop. She spent almost half of her visit out of the house, often staying out all night.
I hate to see my darling wife taken advantage of like this. Do you think I am being too old-fashioned? Is such behavior acceptable? How can we change this before we have a major argument that will benefit no one?
— Cranky Canadian
Dear Cranky: Please talk to your wife about some boundaries regarding Justine. Make concrete suggestions (Justine will take a cab from the airport; she will have restrictions on the use of your computer, cellphone and car, etc.), and ask your wife to agree to enforce these conditions for Justine’s next visit. But we warn you: Unless your wife is willing to put her foot down, nothing will change. If that is the case, please tolerate these visits as best you can, because getting between your wife and her daughter is a lose-lose situation for you.
Dear Annie: Forty-two years ago, I married a kind, gentle, caring man. Over the years, however, he became hateful and mean. I spent the past 20 years trying to make it through one more day without spurring his anger, often unsuccessfully.
Finally, I asked his doctor to check my husband for depression. His kind doctor prescribed a mild antidepressant. What a change I am seeing! I love my husband like I did 40 years ago and look forward to growing old with him. Please continue to encourage people to see their doctor about depression. Things can be better.
— His Wife
Dear Wife: Thank you for the testimonial. Sometimes, depression manifests itself as anger, withdrawal, mood swings or other behavioral problems that are not recognized as depression. We are glad you could communicate the problem to his doctor, who listened and took action that helped.
Dear Annie: “Hurt and Disappointed” said she sent money to her deceased sister’s children so they’d have an inheritance from Grandma. She was disappointed not to hear back from them.
Even though she said it was “according to instructions,” many people die without a will, and most states’ intestate succession statutes provide that the children of a deceased child inherit their parent’s share per capita. It’s quite possible that these nephews were entitled to one-third of their grandmother’s estate.
Please caution people to check the law of their state before they distribute any assets.
— Know Better
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.
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