Dear Annie: Eleven years ago, we moved halfway across the country in order to live close to my husband’s family. For years, we heard about all the things they would do with our kids if only we lived nearer. My parents were still busy raising my four younger siblings and weren’t really interested in being grandparents, so all these promises sounded wonderful.
It didn’t take long after we moved to discover that my in-laws were all talk. When we announced that we were pregnant with our fourth child, my mother-in-law said, “Well, don’t expect me to babysit four kids.” I had to bite my tongue to keep from retorting, “Why would I? You never babysit the three we already have.” My mother-in-law always sounds like I’m holding a gun to her head when I ask whether she might have some time to see the kids.
My children are growing up. They are completely self-sufficient and well behaved. They clean up after themselves and take care of one another. I’ve always tried to cast my in-laws in the best possible light, even though they spend less time with my children than my parents who live 1,500 miles away. But the kids are catching on.
Should I continue making excuses for my in-laws? Is it OK to tell my kids honestly why they never get invited to their house? Is there any way to express myself to my in-laws so it will open their eyes about what they are missing? So far, calling my mother-in-law on her behavior has only resulted in a guilt trip and crocodile tears.
It breaks my heart that my children have no relationship with these grandparents. But more than that, I’m having a hard time not resenting them for all the broken promises.
— Fran in Frisco
Dear Fran: We don’t know why your in-laws switched gears. Perhaps being with all those children was more effort than they expected. But don’t badmouth them to your kids even if they deserve it. When your children ask why they don’t see their grandparents, simply say, “It’s just the way they are.” And please stop asking your in-laws to spend time with the kids. Instead, invite them to whatever occasions merit their presence, and let them see for themselves what they are reaping.
Dear Annie: You’ve mentioned that men with low sex drives should be tested for low testosterone. I’m curious how many men are willing to address the problem with medication.
My guy was tested, and his testosterone was very low. He was given a prescription, but said it was too expensive. A call to the doctor produced a less expensive prescription, but he didn’t fill that one, either, because it was a “hormone,” and he thinks all hormones are dangerous.
We have since split up. No sex drive is one thing, but the accompanying negative personality issues made me want to hide in my own house.
Dear Alone: Low testosterone can also be responsible for depression and other mood disorders. It’s too bad your guy was unwilling to try the prescription. It may have helped him enormously. A discussion with his doctor about hormones would have been useful.
Dear Annie: I disagree with your answer to “Home Alone,” whose boyfriend travels on business for months at a time. When he’s home, he spends weekdays with her but wants to spend weekends with his family or friends. You said, “You’ll have to revisit this issue if you marry and have children.”
I would hope the issue would be totally resolved before even thinking of getting married. He doesn’t even make a good boyfriend. That relationship spells disaster.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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