Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Mitch” for seven years, and we have a 4-year-old son. Mitch provides well for us, and everyone at his job thinks he’s the best. Unfortunately, we see a different side of him at home.
Mitch is diabetic. Sometimes he doesn’t take care of himself. When he hasn’t slept enough or eaten enough, he behaves like a mean, bratty child.
We recently were invited to his parents’ home for dinner, and he announced that he wasn’t going to eat anything.
On the drive home, he took a nap, and when he woke up, he had no memory of the way he had acted.
I’ve noticed that a lot of his adolescent behavior takes place when we are with his family. He treats them horribly and never apologizes. Mitch even saw a counselor who pointed this out to him, so he quit going.
A year ago, Mitch tried another counselor, who told him he was perfectly fine and maybe we should try marriage counseling. We did, but it didn’t help.
I feel as if I am married to a preschooler. If Mitch doesn’t get his way, there’s a fight. He resents my family, so I’ve stopped spending time with them in order to avoid conflict. I feel trapped. I would leave, but I cannot support my son on my income alone. I no longer enjoy being with Mitch and am thankful when his job takes him out of town for several days. Any advice?
Dear Frustrated: Some of this is Mitch’s refusal to regulate his blood sugar levels. But that is a conscious choice on his part and gives him an excuse to be rude and inconsiderate. Please try counseling again, and ask Mitch to come with you. If he refuses, go without him.
Dear Annie: I am a 57-year-old lady, getting married for the second time.
Is it appropriate for a woman my age to wear an ivory wedding gown as long as it is not too extravagant? No veil or train. It would be a long, suit-type style.
The second question is about wedding gifts. We have two full households and don’t need anything. Can we say “no gifts required” or “gift cards appreciated” so our guests don’t waste their money? I wouldn’t put it on the invitation, but rather in an attached card.
Third, it’s a destination wedding. Should I provide a list of accommodations near the reception?
Finally, do you have a recommended source of wedding etiquette for second marriages?
— New Bride
Dear Bride: Yes, to the first question. A long, suit-type, off-white gown without a veil or train would be perfect. No, to the second. It is inappropriate to put anything in the invitation envelope about gifts. Spread the word to a close friend or relative, and let them notify guests who ask. Third, it would be lovely to give your guests a list of available accommodations, and you also might check to see whether you can get a group discount. Finally, libraries, bookstores and Web sites are filled with etiquette advice. (You can’t go wrong with Peggy Post.)
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not a Fan,” whose husband thinks the big-screen TV is all his and won’t let the rest of the family watch it. This man is nuts.
While your reply was a good start, it does not fix the problem. You two recommend counseling for many people with less serious issues. This man has a family and needs to straighten up and act like it. He has some kind of mental problem.
— Clinton Township, Mich.
Dear Clinton: The man seems a little obsessed and controlling about the TV. However, counseling is only effective when someone is willing to work on the problem. We doubt Hubby would bother, and without his cooperation, there’s little chance she can change his behavior.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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.