Dear Annie: I recently married “Clark” and discovered, after the wedding, that he has a terrible gambling problem.
In the past few months, Clark has spent more than $18,000 gambling, and although he’s won a little, he hasn’t made back nearly as much as he’s lost. He also hasn’t updated his will, which means if anything happens to him (and I hope it doesn’t), I will get nothing, not even my car. His grown daughter from his first marriage inherits everything.
Clark is 15 years older than I am. I’m not looking to be rich, but I also don’t want to be left destitute. He doesn’t seem to understand that at age 60, anything could happen to him. Please help. — No Name, No City
Dear No Name: It doesn’t matter that Clark is 60. Everyone should have a current will, regardless of age. Ask him to go with you to see an estate planner so you won’t be tossed out on the street if something should happen to him. If he refuses, we hope you will start putting money away for this purpose and also see an attorney on your own. And make sure Clark can’t get to the money you are setting aside, because he’s sure to gamble it away. Please contact Gam-Anon (gam-anon.org), for friends and family of compulsive gamblers, at P.O. Box 157, Whitestone, NY 11357.
Dear Annie: I am 38 years old. When I was 13, my grandparents told me they were angry with my mother and decided to disown her. They and the rest of the relatives went out of their way to avoid Mom. I understand they had their reasons for doing this (she embezzled from the family company and then came out of the closet at about the same time), and that they were angry and ashamed.
However, Grandma died this year, never saying a final word to my mother. This was not just hard for Mom, but also for my children and me. I tried on many occasions to get Grandma to forgive her, but she wouldn’t. Now Grandpa is not in the best of health.
I’m still trying, but don’t know what else to do. Please remind your readers that hate hurts everyone. I truly feel that my grandparents might have enjoyed better health if they could have learned to forgive. I know it would have changed my mother’s life, as well as mine. Everyone else in the family says they would never do this to their kids, but they still allow it to happen to my mother. Any suggestions? — Still Hurting After All These Years
Dear Hurting: We agree that the inability to forgive can hurt the person who holds the grudge. Sadly, there’s not much to be done about parents who disown a child for being gay, but has your mother made amends for the embezzlement? Did she ever make the effort to show her parents she is sorry for betraying their trust? If your grandfather attends church, try enlisting the help of his clergyperson to effect a reconciliation before it’s too late.
Dear Annie: This is for “Lost Wife,” whose husband of 29 years is a serial cheater. If I understand correctly:
He can move in and out at will and have sex with whomever he wants. She gets to do his laundry.
He gets friends with benefits. She deserves no explanation.
He gets to spend her money on his girlfriends. She gets to stay home, alone.
He gets to publicly humiliate her in front of family and friends. She gets to take it.
He will never treat her with more respect than she treats herself. I say drain the bank accounts, kick him out and lawyer up. Get a new dress, a new hairstyle, a new attitude and go out with whatever man he hates the most. — Not That Kind of Man
Dear Not That Kind: Well, you certainly spelled it out in plain English. Thanks for your input.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 2.25.08