Annie’s Mailbox for April 2, 2011: Unsure how to kick son out of house
Dear Annie: I am ready for the loony farm. Both of my adult sons are back at home, one with his child. My husband retired last year. I am still working.
One son, “Matt,” contributes toward rent and household chores, but the other, “Joe,” sits like a bump on a log and does nothing. I’m sure that Joe has Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, but he won’t do anything about it. I don’t want to throw him out, but he leaves us no choice. He always claims we love his brother more, but it’s not true. Matt is simply more responsible, while Joe sits around looking for handouts.
I am a firm believer in tough love, but Joe always finds a way to make us feel guilty. Please help. I need my sanity.
— Drowning in Denver
Dear Denver: Kids are great at playing on their parents’ guilt. Stiffen your backbone, and tell Joe he will not be permitted to become a freeloader simply because you love him. If he wants to remain in the house, he must contribute either rent money or household help, no excuses, and if that is too much to ask, he is welcome to find another place to live. We also recommend you contact CHADD (chadd.org) for information and suggestions about adult ADD.
Dear Annie: I have been married for 36 years. “Alvin” and I have not had a good marriage in a long while and have separated several times. In the past few years, Alvin has been unfaithful.
After a recent affair, I shamed Alvin into reluctantly returning home. I now realize that no amount of time will fix the lack of trust. I truly cannot forgive him for his years of infidelity. I no longer love him. We have nothing in common except our grown children. I do not enjoy or want to be intimate with him.
I am tired of pretending things are OK. I am miserable, and I know he is not happy, either. I do not enjoy being around his family. The last time we separated, I dated other men and found it refreshing. I now wish Alvin would leave, but I doubt he will, because I made him feel so guilty. At the time, I thought I needed him, but forcing him to come back made it worse.
I’d like to warn your readers to be careful what they wish for. I feel stuck, but hope I can find the words to end this relationship for both of our sakes so we can each move forward.
— Mrs. Miserable in California
Dear Mrs. Miserable: Here are the words: “Alvin, this isn’t working out. We are both unhappy and deserve better. Please come with me for counseling so we can figure out the best way to handle our relationship and whether it’s worth staying together.” Good luck to both of you.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Emotionally Drained,” whose husband is bipolar and abusive. She will not be able to help her husband, and it will only get worse as the years go by.
An untreated mental illness can drag down those closest to it. My husband burned all his bridges with family and friends, and I felt responsible for his well-being.
I think children would have better memories of their father from a distance and grow up more stable with one sane parent, rather than with a mother who is emotionally drained and a father who is mentally ill and abusive.
— Stress Free at Last
Dear Readers: We are carrying on Ann Landers’ tradition that April 2 be set aside as Reconciliation Day, a time to make the first move toward mending broken relationships. It also would be the day on which we agree to accept the olive branch extended by a former friend or estranged family member and do our best to start over.
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