Dear Annie: I have been married to “Lori,” a wonderful woman, for six months. I’ve never been happier and wouldn’t change my life for the world.
The problem is, Lori allows every little thing to get to her, and I get hit with the backlash. The list of things that can send her over the edge is endless — one of her kids gets in trouble, her mother annoys her, she’s feeling a little under the weather.
Once Lori gets into one of her moods, she becomes callous and mean. Nothing I say or do makes her feel better. If I mention how her mood affects me, her feelings are hurt and the problem gets worse. Lately, I’ve discovered the best thing is just to ride out the storm. Is there any way to help my wife stop sweating the small stuff?
— Running Out of Ideas
Dear Running: The fact that Lori gets callous and mean when little things annoy her is a bad sign. Has she been evaluated for bipolar disease? Does she suffer from extreme hormonal fluctuations? Is she taking any kind of medication that might affect her mood? Suggest she see her doctor for a complete checkup, and ask specifically that these questions be addressed. She (and you) could be suffering needlessly.
Dear Annie: My 61-year-old brother recently walked out of his 40-year marriage and hooked up with a 25-year-old girl from another country. I am still very close to his previous wife and their three grown children.
The holidays are just around the corner, and it is my turn to host. How do I handle inviting the ex-wife (whom I adore), as well as my brother and his very young girlfriend of whom most of the family disapproves? Their children will be there with their families. I don’t know what to do.
Dear Baffled: Unless the rest of the family wishes to estrange your brother, you are stuck with him. So invite everyone, and let them know. Tell your ex-sister-in-law that you understand this will be difficult for her, but you would love to have her and will always consider her part of the family. If she chooses not to come, no one can blame her. But if she can find a way to tolerate the situation for the sake of her children, it could pave the way for less hostile family get-togethers in the future.
Dear Annie: I was saddened to read the letter from “Concerned Mom in Pennsylvania,” who was unable to get support in finding employment for her blind 18-year-old son.
I am an occupational therapist in Michigan who has worked with special needs children for 30 years. Our state provides services through the age of 26. I recommend “Concerned” contact the school district that is servicing her son and sit down to discuss these specific concerns. Every child with special needs who attends school is required to have an annual individual educational plan (IEP).