Dear Annie: There is a young couple in our church who spend the entire mass making out. They kiss, tickle, rub and caress each other every minute of the service. It’s very distracting. It is also distracting to see other people in church snickering and rolling their eyes at them. I am praying that these two read your column and have a PDA wake-up call.
— Switching Masses
Dear Switching: It is not uncommon for newly enamored couples to have difficulty keeping their hands off of each other. They think others will see it as proof of their love, when in actuality, it is a sign of immaturity. Finding another mass is one option. The other is informing the priest, who should counsel the couple about proper decorum in a place of worship.
Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 32 years, and my wife has been both verbally and physically abusive to me all that time. She uses vulgar language, is sarcastic and likes to hit and punch me. I almost filed for divorce after five years, hoping it would make her change, but it didn’t work. She has anger, stress, weight, sleep and back problems and does nothing about them. She’s crabby all of the time.
How do I tell her in a nice way that we will never survive under the same roof unless she makes progress on these problems?
— Lost in Wisconsin
Dear Lost: Your wife doesn’t believe you will leave her. You’ve tolerated 32 years of verbal and physical abuse, and quite logically, she expects you to stick around for more. Like many abused spouses, you believe you can make things better, but that requires her cooperation. Please contact the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women (dahmw.org) at 1-888-7HELPLINE.
Dear Annie: I am the daughter-in-law mentioned in the letter from “Disappointed Parents,” who said I retreated to the bedroom while my mother-in-law handled the movers. From their letter, I can understand why you think I might be a problem. Yes, they did travel a long distance to help us with our move, and it was greatly appreciated. I kept thanking them and continuously asked whether they were OK and whether they needed anything. I was told over and over that they were just fine. The day the movers arrived, my husband and I agreed that he would deal with them and I would keep our small children out of the way in our bedroom. He didn’t tell me that he and his father left to go to the bank, leaving his stepmother to handle the movers.
My husband and I both slept until noon that day, but they only castigated me for being “lazy.” They didn’t mention that I was up until 4 a.m. unpacking. They were bothered that I didn’t have breakfast ready for them, even though the kitchen wasn’t unpacked. They expected to be entertained. When they decided to leave in a huff, I was bathing our kids. They didn’t even lock the front door behind them. After they left, I received nasty emails saying how rude I was and that I need to apologize. Each one included a laundry list of the ways I am a terrible daughter-in-law and don’t know my place. I didn’t send birthday and Christmas greetings because my husband said he wasn’t interested in doing so.
His father has a history of anger issues and has alienated every other family member. My last email stated that I was cutting off contact. I am too busy raising my children to raise my in-laws. They smile to your face while making lists of slights behind your back. I don’t want my kids around such behavior. Thank you for reading my side of the events.
— Shell-Shocked Daughter-in-Law
Dear Shell-Shocked: Thanks for providing it. Many readers came to your defense, saying that a new mother who had just moved had her hands full and deserved more consideration. We agree.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, 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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