Dear Annie: I am a 25-year-old male who has been married for a few years, and I still love my wife as much as the day I met her. The problem is, I am having sexual fantasies about her mother.
My mother-in-law is happily married and has no idea about my feelings. My wife has heard me make a few comments, but she does not take them seriously.
I am a good person and have never been in any kind of trouble with the law or anything of the sort. So my question is, why am I having these feelings? I’ve tried to block them out, but I can’t.
Dear Oregon: You’ve been watching too much cable TV. If your mother-in-law is attractive, you are seeing her as an available female instead of as “Mom.” You need to recalibrate your impression of her, and you can do that by making a concerted effort to substitute more “motherly” images in your head. Imagine her baking pies and cleaning spit-up. Think of her as your future children’s grandmother, with white hair and wrinkles. Whatever images you can put in your brain that will replace the sexual ones you have now will help. We urge you to work on this, or it could destroy your marriage.
Dear Annie: What can I say to my 10-year-old daughter, who came home from school today and told me a classmate is having a birthday party and invited every girl in the class except her? To add insult to injury, she even invited my daughter’s best friend — a girl who attends school in another district. I am at a loss for words.
— Sad Mom
Dear Mom: Is it possible your daughter’s invitation was lost? This happens more often than you might think. Also, many schools have a policy that doesn’t allow children to single out and exclude one classmate in this manner. It’s a form of bullying.
If your daughter’s school has such a policy, you can discuss this with the principal. If you are friendly with the other girl’s mother, you can talk to her about it.
But, if the bottom line is simply that the birthday girl doesn’t like your daughter, you need to tell your child that life isn’t always fair, even for good people, and it will help to learn positive ways to cope with disappointment. Perhaps on the day of the party, you and your daughter could do something special together.
Dear Annie: I was enraged to read the letter from “Running Out of Room,” whose sister gives framed pictures of her children to their family as birthday and holiday gifts. I also do this.
There is rarely anything I can think of to buy my mother-in-law that she doesn’t already have or hasn’t recently purchased. But she loves getting new pictures of her grandkids.
No, it is not cheap to put them in frames, but it comes from the heart. And you are correct in saying they don’t need to display every picture. There have been times when my own mother puts the pictures in an album and then returns the frames for another photo.
“Running” may not appreciate these photographs, but I believe her sister is giving her an extremely heartfelt gift, and she should embrace it. Those kids aren’t going to be little forever, and it will be nice to look back later and remember what they were like “way back when.”
— Roberta in Rhode Island
Dear Roberta: It’s fine to give Mom pictures of the kids at every occasion. But when given to siblings who have their own children, it can be interpreted as bragging. As long as you don’t mind if the photographs are not displayed, it’s OK with us if you keep sending Mom mementos of the little tykes.