Dear Annie: Ten years ago, my daughter, “June,” married a guy I thought was a little immature. June thought he would change after she married him. He didn’t. Five years ago, they had a child. She thought he would change then. He has not.
My son-in-law does absolutely nothing around the house unless June asks him to. Then he stomps around like a little kid and finally does it halfway. He won’t even play with his son unless June insists. The guy comes home from work and plays video games and watches TV for hours.
Meanwhile, June works two jobs, pays the bills and takes care of my grandson. If something major needs to be done, she asks me to do it while her husband plays Angry Birds. The guy is 36 years old and acts like he’s 12.
My wife says to stay out of it, but I know June is miserable. She refuses to spend the money on a marriage counselor. What can or should I do? I hate to think my grandson is seeing this.
— Worried Dad
Dear Dad: You can’t do anything about your daughter’s choice to tolerate this situation. If June is miserable, she can get low-cost counseling through her church, any graduate school counseling department, United Way, the YMCA and the Samaritan Institute (samaritaninstitute.org). Otherwise, please be the mature father figure your grandson can emulate. Children find their role models among their relatives, teachers, friends’ parents and even TV figures. You don’t need to badmouth your son-in-law to show the boy what a loving, caring, responsible grownup is.
Dear Annie: I work in an office with a co-worker who has the most offensive odor. “Carl” is a smoker, but that’s only part of it. He smells like he does not wash his clothes, and I gag every time he is near me.
I have complained to my boss, but she says she doesn’t smell him, so she won’t do anything. I have even asked his co-worker friends whether they smell him, and they say no. I am a “super-smeller” and know I smell things more strongly than others. But we work with the public, and I am sure at least some of our customers smell him, too. But of course, no one says anything.
We are a small office, and luckily, I don’t sit near Carl. But he does come to my desk, and he also sits by me on the bus, and during these times, I hold my breath. What can I do without confronting Carl myself?
— Need To Exhale
Dear Need: Does your office have a human resources department? Is there a supervisor above your boss who can intercede? If not, and if no one else is bothered by Carl, it then falls to you to say something. Keep in mind that a smoker’s clothing can retain the odor of smoke even if it is clean. Determine whether speaking to Carl will change anything. If so, it would be best to do so privately and as kindly as possible. Otherwise, try investing in an air purifier.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Left-Out Son,” whose parents support his substance-abusing sister and plan to give her everything when they die. I know how he feels.
My parents were good to me, but my sister fought drug addiction for most of her adult life. When my parents died, they left her everything. I had no part of their home, their belongings or the feeling that I was equally loved. I know in my head that my parents loved me, but it still stings. It feels as if I was punished for being the responsible sibling.
It is true that you must forgive, and I choose to. If you keep saying, “I forgive you,” your heart will finally follow.
— Daughter Still Hopeful
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. 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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