Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My brother-in-law and his wife are strange people. “Tom and Alice” live beyond their means and are constantly asking for help. We’ve given them more than $10,000, and they’ve never paid back a dime. That’s not the worst part.
Alice is in love with my husband, “Dean.” She giggles and flirts with him and used to send him scantily clad pictures of herself. This made us both horribly uncomfortable. I trust Dean. He would leave the phone on speaker when she’d call. And in order to avoid any hint of impropriety, Dean changed his phone number and email address and got off of all social networks. He now can only be reached through the office.
Alice doesn’t work and aspires to be on a reality show for rich wives. When she got pregnant four years ago, she told me that Dean should be in the delivery room because “it’s his baby.” This can’t possibly be true. Dean had a vasectomy years ago, and more importantly, we were out of the country when Alice conceived. His father, stepmother and sisters believe her, and she even called our daughter at college to say she has a half-sister. We recently received a petition for child support.
My brother-in-law shrugs off his wife’s behavior, saying Alice has inadequate boundaries. He says he knows the child isn’t my husband’s, but “a little extra cash couldn’t hurt” because he is out of work.
Dean and I spoke to a lawyer. The only reason we stay in touch with his family is because my mother-in-law, a wonderful woman, is battling breast cancer and relies on Alice (who yells at her) for rides to the doctor. My husband is worried that if we take legal action against Alice, his mother will suffer the consequences. I don’t know how I ended up in an episode of Jerry Springer. Any ideas? — Beside Myself in Jersey
Dear Beside: The first thing you should do is get a paternity test so you have legal proof that Dean is not the father of this child. Then talk to as many family members as you can and urge them to convince Alice to get professional help. This woman has serious mental health issues, and her mercenary husband exploits her. Try to arrange other transportation for your mother-in-law so you are not held hostage to her situation, and then do what you must to protect your own family.
Dear Annie: For the third time, my daughter has called to verbally abuse me. The first time, I refused to listen, and she withheld her children from us. We had helped raise our oldest grandchild, and she kept him away for a year. The second time she pulled this stunt, she showed up two years later in need of financial help. She also had a new baby we’d never seen. We forgave her.
She is now practicing this vicious tactic for the third time. We have decided we are too old to deal with this. We’ve redone our will. Our son will inherit the bulk of the estate, and our daughter will be given a pittance so she cannot claim we’ve overlooked her. No one should have to take abuse in order to see their grandchildren. — Three Strikes You’re Out in Pennsylvania
Dear Three: We agree. But how heartbreaking for you. Our condolences.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Ready To Settle Down” was excellent, but didn’t go quite far enough. When I was newly divorced, someone gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. It has gotten me through some pretty rocky moments, and hopefully, it will inspire “Ready” to rethink her desire to be with the lazy creep now in her life. “The only thing worse than being alone is wishing you were.” — Louisville, Ky.
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, 737 Third 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.
Published in The Messenger 6.6.12