Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 8:06 pm
Dear Annie: My brother and his wife never host a holiday dinner gathering. Either my mother or I do it. I feel taken advantage of, but when I suggested it was their turn, they became quite defensive.
My mother’s birthday is coming up, and my brother and sister-in-law decided to have a dinner and are excluding me. Every year in the past, I have hosted a dinner for my mother’s birthday and have always invited them. How do I handle this situation? — Left Out in the Cold
Dear Left Out: You struck a nerve with your brother and his wife, and now they are punishing you because you made them feel guilty. You can do nothing about their pettiness, although your mother should lodge a complaint and insist that you be included. Either way, the best response is to be gracious and forgiving. Perhaps drop by with a gift for your mother, smile sweetly, tell them to have a lovely dinner and then wave goodbye. If you can pull that off with sincerity, you’ll look like a saint.
Dear Annie: Last year around this time, you printed a letter from “Desperate Alcoholic,” the 48-year-old woman who could not stay sober. You then printed a response from a woman who had the same problem. When her husband died, she finally went for treatment and asked the counselor whether she was too old to get well. The counselor replied, “Is your heart still beating?”
Somehow that resonated with me in a way nothing else has. At the time I read that letter, I was 68 and so unhappy. I was depressed, severely overweight, feeling helpless and smoking two packs a day.
I have taken that phrase as my mantra. Sometimes I have to say it 20 times a day, and other times, only once in the morning. Since I started using that as my guide a year ago, I have lost 45 pounds and my smoking is down to three cigarettes a day. I am active in the life of my 5-year-old grandson.
I had been reading your column for entertainment, but instead found a way to get my life back. I am still far from where I want to be, but I am no longer where I was and wanted you to know. Thank you. — Elaine from California
Dear Elaine: We are thrilled that letter helped you, and we bless that counselor for those wise words. Many people read our column for entertainment, and then one day, a particular letter will hit home and we hear from a reader saying, “That letter could have been written by me.”
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our late 40s and have been married 20 years. We have four children. We are both well-educated professionals.
A few years ago, I learned my husband was having one-night stands with other men. We went for counseling, and he promised to stop. Last summer, I found evidence that he’s up to the same thing. Again, we had counseling. Again, he made promises to stop. But last night, same old, same old.
My husband claims he’s bisexual and I’m the one he loves. He has always been sexually demanding, needing sex two or three times a day, and he is great in bed. But I can no longer stand being married to a cheater. If I’m not his cup of tea, so be it. But what do we tell the children? — In the Middle of Nowhere
Dear Middle: If you have decided the marriage is over, the children should be told what any child of divorce needs to know — that although the parents are no longer able to be together, the children are still loved and cherished. Then do your very best to be civil toward each other so that the children don’t suffer more than necessary. There is absolutely no reason to mention Dad’s sex life. Please go back to your counselor — with your husband — and learn how best to minimize the damage.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 5.20.10