Dear Annie: I have been married for two years to a "mama's boy," and I hate it. Every time we have an argument, he calls his mother, asks her to come to our house to help and insists that I talk to her.
At first, I told him I didn't like that he always brings his mother into our relationship problems. He obviously didn't care because it keeps happening. So, like an adult, I talked to my mother-in-law, who I love dearly. She is a great mother-in-law. She said she understands how I feel, but again, it keeps happening. Every fight we have, she comes inside my house to mediate. I don't know what to do. My husband and I are almost 30, and he acts like a child. And my mother-in-law does everything he asks.
- Love and Hate
Dear Love and Hate: This dynamic between mother and child has been going on for nearly 30 years, and it will take time to change, especially when neither of them understands the problem. It helps that your mother-in-law is "great." Tell her very explicitly that when she comes over every time you have an argument, it undermines your marriage. Say that you love her and her son loves her, but married couples must resolve their own problems.
Make it clear that the next time your husband asks her to come over and intervene, you expect her to say "no." Tell her you know it will be difficult for her, but you will be very appreciative. Then inform your husband if he doesn't stop calling Mommy every time you disagree, the two of you will need to see a counselor to save your marriage.
Dear Annie: My mother died last year, and I want to have a memorial to honor her life. The problem is the guest list. When I was a child, my sister's husband sexually abused me for several years. My sister knows because she read my diary and then burned it. She has stayed with this man, even though he has had several affairs.
I've sent letters to my sister and her husband several times, asking that we openly discuss this, but neither has responded. In the meantime, my sister is very negative toward me and says unkind things about me to others in our community. I want to get past this and invite my sister to the memorial, but I don't want her husband there. Unfortunately, my sister never goes anywhere without him. She keeps him on a tight leash because he has a wandering eye.
This man has caused our family a great deal of pain and ripped apart my relationship with my sister, as well as her relationship with our mother. At the end of her life, Mom was very depressed about the situation but felt helpless to straighten things out. I don't think she would want this son-in-law at her memorial. What should I do?
Dear Jennifer: Unless your sister leaves her husband, she is unlikely to ever address the abuse. That doesn't mean, however, that you should welcome your abuser. Ask your sister to come to the memorial and tell her point-blank that it would be inappropriate for her husband to attend and he is not invited. She may bring him anyway, in which case, ignore him. And if she chooses not to come, so be it.
Dear Annie: I, too, have been at war with ladies' jeans manufacturers. I'm 74 and live in a mountainous hunting and fishing community. Jeans are 90 percent of my wardrobe, but the ones that sit below the waist make me look like the Michelin Man.
Tell "Not an Old Granny" to go to the nearest farm supply store and try on men's jeans. They have slim fit, regular fit, relaxed fit, full cut, rodeo cut, etc., in multiple brands and all lengths. Plus, they are cheaper than most women's jeans.
- Old But Still Active
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.