Annie’s Mailbox – 2.6.12
Posted: Monday, February 6, 2012 9:26 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar
The Messenger 02.06.12
Dear Annie: I have been married nearly 30 years to someone who is a self-centered, selfish, immature mama’s boy. Mama is so controlling, and yet so needy, that every time we’ve moved, she’s moved nearby. She has switched to the same doctor and even goes to the same hair salon her “baby” uses. She gets to know the employees at these places and then interrogates them and blabs our business to everyone.
My husband has had several affairs over the years, and Mama has met every one of these women. Most of these affairs begin as a way to get these women to buy him items we cannot afford, such as cameras and computers. He gives them my old jewelry, thinking I won’t notice. As soon as he gets what he wants, he dumps them.
My husband tells everyone we are in debt because I don’t know how to handle money. The truth is, I am very frugal, but am unable to keep up with all the debt he has accumulated through his Internet spending. I’ve been on the receiving end of STDs three times. My mother-in-law is happy to be involved in all his little schemes.
I recently joined a support group and have gathered the courage to file for divorce. My question is: Do I tell my grown children and family the truth? I’ve been too humiliated to admit any of this and don’t want to deal with a lot of questions and drama now. — Without Common Sense, You Ain’t Got Nothin’
Dear Without: Your grown children are probably more aware of what’s been going on than you think. But they still love their father and don’t want to be stuck in the middle of feuding parents. It is OK to correct misimpressions or lies that Mama or your soon-to-be-ex may circulate about you. But otherwise, please take the high road. Simply say the divorce has been percolating for a long time, and you feel it’s the best decision for everyone.
Dear Annie: My husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary in a few months with a big party. We will be inviting family and friends to this affair.
The problem is, we are friends with two people who divorced each other 10 years ago. They each married other people, and both couples are now part of our social circle. But the exes still avoid being in the same room. We want both couples to attend, but how do we invite them without making all four of them uncomfortable?
We’re afraid if we tell one set of friends we are inviting the other, neither set will show up. — Massachusetts
Dear Massachusetts: Invite whomever you wish. Do not volunteer information about the guest list, but if someone should ask, it’s OK to tell them. If they say, “We won’t come if So-and-So is invited,” your response should be, “We understand. We’ll miss you.”
Dear Annie: You gave a good answer to “Frustrated in Colorado” regarding her racist mother-in-law’s reaction to her adopted daughter. I, too, was adopted by a woman whose mother was bigoted.
My mother didn’t like the way her parents responded to me, but since she was their only child, she chose not to deprive them of her visits. My grandfather, while outwardly rejecting me, privately had me sit on his lap and read the Bible to him. He also gave me candy and treats, so I knew he cared about me. I don’t hold their faults against them. It was a different time. I understand they had their limits.
I treasure the time I had with my grandparents. It is better to focus on the positives than the negatives, at least with family, which you cannot choose. — One Person’s Opinion
Dear One: Most of our readers did not agree that there could be any benefit to a relationship, so we greatly appreciate your take on the subject.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.
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