Dear Annie: I’ve been a widow for 15 years. I moved to another state to be with my kids and met “Jerry.” We’ve been dating for nine months.
Jerry has been divorced for two years and has two adult children. His ex-wife was his childhood sweetheart and the only woman he’d ever been with. The problem is, I have never been to Jerry’s house. He says his niece and youngest child live with him, and he hasn’t told the family about me. When I asked why, he said, “Then everyone will know it’s over between my ex and me.”
I think Jerry’s mother sustains the hope that he will get back together with his ex, and I’m pretty sure his ex would like that, too. I gave Jerry a deadline of three months to make our relationship public. He swears he’s not still married, and he gave me a ring for Valentine’s Day. He spends the night at my house every week. I just want to know what you think.
— Not Yet Official
Dear Not Yet: Either Jerry is still hung up on his ex-wife, or he’s too afraid of his mother to date anyone else. If he were truly ready to move forward, seeing you publicly would not be an issue after nine months. Your deadline makes sense, but you must be ready to end the relationship if Jerry doesn’t come through. That would mean he isn’t likely to ever be “ready.” Sorry.
Dear Annie: I’m planning my wedding and asked my best friend, “Kayla,” to be my maid of honor. I love her like a sister. Right after college, Kayla made a mistake and got pregnant after a one-night stand with some guy she met at a bar. Her daughter, “Jessie,” is now 4 years old, a wonderful child and my goddaughter. I want her as my flower girl.
My mother liked Kayla until Jessie was born and she realized the child is biracial. My mother hit the roof when she found out Kayla and Jessie are in the wedding party. She claims they are “tainted.” I am astounded and furious with my mother. Her side of the family is extremely racist, and I have little to do with them. My mother always downplayed their behavior as “old fashioned,” but now that she’s older, she’s become just like them. Believe me, it’s not early-onset dementia or anything like that. She’s simply turning into her parents.
My fiancé and I are footing the entire bill for this wedding, so we are not beholden to anyone. I’m shocked and embarrassed that my mother has become someone I can’t stand to be around. She told my father and brothers that she won’t come to the wedding if Kayla and Jessie are there, and frankly, I’m relieved — and that bothers me. My father is appalled by her behavior, as are my brothers. What do I do now?
— Bigot’s Daughter
Dear Daughter: A parent’s preferences should be taken into consideration when they are reasonable, but your mother’s are not. You can calmly discuss with her why her demands are abhorrent to you and that you hope she will reflect more rationally on the racist opinions she holds. But you cannot change her. You can only decide how much you can tolerate. Please do not give in to her blackmail.
Dear Annie: You had a letter from “Suggestions Appreciated,” who wanted to know what to do about guests who track snow into her house. You said it was OK to ask them to remove their shoes, especially if she provides comfy little slippers.
I have one more suggestion: Let people know beforehand that they will need to take off their shoes. I have a lift in one shoe and cannot go without them. I have a special pair of shoes that I can bring along to wear inside the house if I know in advance that I will need them.
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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