Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend, “Tom,” for more than a year. We love each other very much.
However, early in our relationship, I was coming out of a rough breakup with my ex. I made a huge mistake thinking I could keep the ex as a friend. We met for dinner and ended up kissing. I confessed to Tom, who briefly broke things off. He eventually took me back, and I haven’t spoken to my ex since.
The problem is, Tom’s sister and mother have not been so forgiving. His sister ignores or insults me when I come to their house. Tom’s mother does the same, although only when his sister is around. At first I accepted it because I deserved it. But it’s been nearly a year, and things have only gotten worse. I have apologized repeatedly, to no avail. Tom’s best friend recently moved in with him, and now the guy’s girlfriend is at Tom’s house a lot. We used to be on good terms, but they have poisoned her against me.
Tom doesn’t want to be involved and gets defensive when I tell him how disrespectful his sister is toward me. He says she’s just socially inept, which could be true, but still. I don’t know how much longer I can take such treatment, and frankly, I’m not sure I deserve it. — Enough Is Enough
Dear Enough: Your problem isn’t Tom’s family. It’s Tom. If he had truly forgiven you and was committed to your relationship, he would not permit his family to treat you so poorly. He is still punishing you — by proxy. His unwillingness to “be involved” means your relationship is not going to improve anytime soon. Tom may not be capable of genuine forgiveness, and it’s better to know it sooner than later.
Dear Annie: Why don’t some people know when to go home after dinner? We enjoy cocktails and appetizers for two hours beforehand and continue to socialize during a leisurely dinner and dessert. However, these guests stay long after the coffee is behind us. We have even started removing the dishes, but they just don’t get the hint.
Without being rude and handing them their car keys, what is the best way to let these guests know that we are tired and want to call it a day? — Tired in Toutle
Dear Toutle: Try talking about your plans for the next morning, asking your guests if they need a ride home, turning on the porch light or offering to get their coats. If these things don’t work, you can always say, “This has been so much fun, but it’s late, and I have an early morning. Let’s get together again soon.”
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “Cape Coral, Fla.,” whose university student son is finding college math professors unfeeling, unhelpful and uncaring.
As a college math instructor, I admit that we have our share of sub-par teachers. I think this is due to two factors: First, the material can be challenging to explain, and second, it is often the case that a person who is gifted mathematically is lacking in social skills.
That being said, I agree with your advice to find a tutor on campus. As I have told many a student: Don’t let your instructor stand in the way of your education. Students must learn to be resourceful and seek out assistance as soon as they encounter difficulty. More importantly, most of the students who struggle in my classes have poor study habits. In the end, their education is their responsibility. — Math Teacher in Montreal
Dear Readers: Today is Family Day (casafamilyday.org). Studies show that children who eat dinner with their parents have a reduced risk of substance abuse. Please try to make meals a family event.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to email@example.com, 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, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.24.12