Annie's Mailbox for March 16, 2011: Wild teen threatening adult friendship

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Dear Annie: I am the second wife of the nicest, most wonderful man I have ever known. "John" and I have been in a happy marriage for seven years.

John is friends with "Ruth," a 36-year-old mother of two, and her husband. The problem is their out-of-control 16-year-old daughter, "Bethany." The girl is jealous, manipulative and vindictive. She tells tales, runs around town at all hours, has wrecked her share of vehicles and has an excuse for every problem she causes.

This would be none of my business, except one of my friends is the mother of Bethany's on-again, off-again best friend. The mothers of these girls don't like each other and have had a number of verbal confrontations. Recently, I received an emotionally charged call from Ruth demanding I end my relationship with my friend. Supposedly, I made certain comments that have hurt Bethany's feelings, even though Ruth admitted the information may not be true.

The only thing I am guilty of is resenting this child. John and Ruth's husband are both great fellows, and I'm afraid this will harm their relationship. Either way, Bethany will most certainly make more trouble in the future. Is there anything I can do?

— Aurora

Dear Aurora: You need to stay out of this entirely. While Ruth should not be dictating the terms of your other friendships, you should not be talking about Bethany with anyone. Your resentment is coming through loud and clear, and both Ruth and her daughter can pick up on it. If necessary, apologize to Ruth for any misunderstanding, but otherwise, drop the subject. Your husband can deal with his own friendships.

Dear Annie: My husband and I both work full time and have three young children. I make larger meals on Sundays so we can eat leftovers during the week.

I invited my in-laws over for dinner last Sunday, and they ate more than I had ever seen them eat before. My mother-in-law said they skipped meals knowing they were coming over for dinner. Needless to say, there were no leftovers, and I was not happy. I don't intend to invite them too often anymore.

Annie, please remind people to be considerate guests.

— Love My In-Laws, But

Dear Love: Honey, if you didn't want your in-laws to eat the food, you should not have invited them for dinner. A gracious hostess does not expect guests to save leftovers so you won't have to cook the rest of the week. The next time you have company, we suggest you make enough so even hungry people leave food on their plates. Or put aside the food you need later. Whatever is on the table is fair game.

Dear Annie: During most of the 20 years that my first wife and I were married, I didn't realize how important it was to demonstrate how much I appreciated her. When she suddenly passed away six years ago, I thought of all the times that I had not expressed my love and appreciation.

Two years later, I met a widow online. From the beginning, we started and ended our meetings with a hug. After we married, we remembered to give each other a hug and a kiss whenever either of us left the house. We also held hands and kissed or hugged for no reason other than to express our love. At age 62, we could still enjoy a romp in bed or just cuddling under the covers. When they told us a year ago that she had cancer, we were even more affectionate, providing comfort to each other.

We've heard others indicate that they don't need to tell their spouses they are loved "because they already know." How wonderful it would be for couples to remember how they treated their partners during courtship. If they continued to "court" their partner as long as they live, there would be a lot more happy couples.

— Widowed Again

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