Annie’s Mailbox – 2.7.12

Annie’s Mailbox – 2.7.12

Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 8:12 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar

The Messenger 02.07.12

Dear Annie: After 40 years of marriage, my wife came home from work one day and said she was leaving. I decided then that I would never marry again.
Four years ago, I met “Lynn.” Now, of course, I am madly in love with her. She never ceases to amaze me with her big heart and infectious smile. She accepts that I don’t want to marry, but I have noticed that when someone gets engaged, her mood changes dramatically. She becomes depressed and cries, and I can see the hurt in her face.
I’ve decided I do want to marry Lynn, but the problem is her 20-year-old son, “Mike.” He is bipolar and uses that as an excuse to sleep all day and play video games all night. He once said he can’t get the mail because he is bipolar. He lives with multiple friends, each of whom eventually kicks him out because he won’t help out and he steals from them. When Mike lived with Lynn, he stole from her, screamed at her, snuck out at night and got into legal trouble. They went to counseling together, and Lynn was on serious depression medicines until Mike moved out. When Mike calls, Lynn breaks out in a nervous rash.
Mike stayed here for two weeks last year and hacked my computer, watched porn all night and stole from us. Lynn and I are scared to death that he will run out of housing options and she will have to take him in. My heart says to marry Lynn, but my head doesn’t want to take on the issues with Mike. What do I do? — Confused
Dear Confused: First, please tell Lynn that you want to marry her. It will make her happy and more amenable to working on the problems with her son. Then get premarital counseling, and also contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) for suggestions on how to deal with Mike.
Dear Annie: Several times recently we have been invited to someone’s house and the TV has been blaring, most often with some awful trashy soap opera or reality show spewing ugly, vile nonsense.
I find the noise deafening, especially at my mother-in-law’s. Often I can’t hear the conversation over the din. And the fact that the TV is left on while others are visiting is rude and insulting.
Can I ask that it be turned off? I don’t want to start a fight, but I find this behavior horrible. Is the protocol different if you are related? — Saskatoon
Dear Saskatoon: We agree that it is rude to keep the TV on when you have visitors, and it is perfectly OK to say nicely, “Would you mind if we turn that off? I’d much prefer concentrating on our conversation.” Relatives, however, often drop by whenever they feel like it. If you are intruding, rather than invited, you shouldn’t be surprised when Mom prefers to watch her favorite program.
Dear Annie: Like “Iowa,” my husband and I were both in a “partying stage” when we married. His main goals were to play golf, watch football and go out with his friends.
We have since become parents, and my husband is still stuck in that cycle. He goes out at least once a week and drinks excessively. On weekends, he is either playing golf or watching sports. We have been to marriage counseling numerous times, and nothing has changed. I am hurt and a little resentful. I also worry that he is setting a bad example for our son.
We cannot reach an agreement on what is acceptable, and the counselor has not helped. Is it too late for him to grow up and be a better husband? — Been There for 19 years
Dear Been: No, but he has to be willing to work on it. If not, you need to make some decisions about your future. A new counselor might help you make some headway.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., 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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