Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: For the past three years, I have been in a committed relationship with “Kathleen.” We truly love each other, and I have been like a father to her 10-year-old son, “Brandon.”
The problem is, Kathleen is 46 and still lives at home with a mother who rules the roost. Mom has been hostile toward me from the get-go and has done everything possible to drive me out of her daughter’s life, even spreading rumors that I was a pedophile. Mom tries to convince Kathleen that I’m not good enough because I’ve been divorced twice and don’t make a six-figure income. She controls Kathleen’s agenda and makes sure she is available only one evening a week. I am not welcome in their home because “Gramma” locks herself in her bedroom until I leave, which makes Kathleen feel stressed and guilty.
I have tried to win Mom over by being polite and giving her flowers and birthday and Christmas gifts. I even offered to go with her to see her priest, but she refused. I have gone out of my way to defer to her, but it doesn’t help. Kathleen feels caught in the middle.
We have talked about living together. Kathleen is accustomed to not paying rent or worrying about property taxes and home repairs, and wants to remain in her mother’s house. I offered to let Mom stay with us, wherever we are, but Kathleen says her mother would never accept living in the same house with me.
I am 58, and my patience is wearing thin. I love Kathleen, but am not hopeful about the situation. Are there options I am unaware of? — Discouraged
Dear Discouraged: Kathleen is quite comfortable living rent-free with her mother and having a loving boyfriend who provides a father figure for her son. She has everything she needs. If you are happy to continue dating her, that is one solution. But if you want marriage or cohabitation, it’s not going to happen.
Dear Annie: A year ago, my husband and I were given a surprise 25th anniversary party. It was wonderful. Family and friends gave generously of their time. However, not one member of my husband’s family came to the event. Nor did they RSVP or send a card.
His family lives a few miles away in the same town. We attend their family events when invited. It still bothers me a year later that they overlooked our anniversary. What should I do? — Hurt and Resentful in Vermont
Dear Hurt: Is it possible there was a mix-up with the invitations or RSVPs? These things happen more often than you think. If that’s not the case, please talk to your husband and ask him to find out whether there is some problem with his family of which you are unaware. Perhaps he can discover what is going on and the two of you can take steps to fix things. Otherwise, we suspect you will stew over this for a long time, and that certainly won’t help relations with the in-laws.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Confused,” who was upset because her best friend’s dog has the same name as her deceased father. It always amazes me how things affect people in a different way.
The day we buried my husband’s mother, we found a beautiful stray calico cat on our doorstep after returning from the service. She managed to wrap my husband around her tiny little paws in a matter of days, and we all loved her. My husband felt a special bond with this cat, and perhaps because his mother loved cats, he named her “Bessie” after his mother.
This sweet, precious kitty helped all of us get through the loss of a wonderful woman. It was never considered anything other than a tribute to a sweet lady we all loved. — Kathy in Kentucky
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email 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 11.21.11