Dear Readers: Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all, along with our special good wishes to the veterans in VA hospitals around the country. And our particular thanks to those readers who have taken the time to send valentines, visit the vets and volunteer at VA facilities. Bless each and every one of you.
Dear Annie: Thirty years ago, my husband’s sister-in-law made a pass at him. They worked at the same place, so when he turned her down, she made his life a living hell. He ended up quitting the job, and we left town. She and my brother-in-law are divorced now, but we see her occasionally at family gatherings.
This woman has been hospitalized twice for breakdowns. Most of the family is cordial to her, knowing that a lot of what she did in the past was due to her illness. When her meds are working and she is feeling stable, she reaches out to those she has hurt to make amends. She reached out to my husband, tearfully admitting that she knows she is the reason we left, and has asked for forgiveness.
She now thinks everything is just fine. The problem is, she has never reached out to me to apologize for the way she upended my life. She doesn’t know my husband told me what happened. Even after all these years, I have a hard time smiling and pretending everything is hunky-dory.
I have forgiven her, but forgetting is something else, and every time I see her, the old anger comes back. My husband agrees that nothing would be gained by bringing these things up again. Any suggestions for moving past this in a positive way? — Wronged but Silent in Wisconsin
Dear Wronged: You haven’t actually forgiven her, because her presence still makes you angry. If you believe an apology from her would make a difference, you should calmly let her know. But if you don’t think it matters one way or the other, please consider talking this through with a professional who can help you let go of the past completely.
Dear Annie: We have 5-year-old twins. We enrolled them in a swimming class last year. Our son had a bad experience and didn’t want to continue. Our daughter, however, loved it and is doing great. After a couple of months, our son decided to return to classes. (We think he was jealous of his sister’s achievement.) Naturally, he is a level behind her. He now cries and wants to be on her level.
We think it would be unfair to hold our daughter back for a while so her brother can catch up. However, if we do hold her back, we can enroll them in semi-private lessons together, saving money as well as transportation time. It also solves the problem of our son’s jealousy. Should we do it? — Swimmers Parents
Dear Parents: As a general rule, it is never a good idea to force kids to accomplish anything at the same speed, moving them forward and back so one isn’t jealous of the other. This is a recipe for a lifetime of craziness and resentment. If you wish to put both children in the same class because you want to save money and time, that is a different issue and certainly justifiable. If the lessons are semi-private, your daughter should be able to move ahead at her own speed, which is not the same as holding her back.
Dear Annie: I believe you overlooked something in your response to “Getting This Off My Chest.”
The writer stated that he is positive his wife got pregnant intentionally. It takes two! Even if she “assures” him that it is a “safe” time of the month, that’s no guarantee. Other precautions should be taken. It’s a shared responsibility — Albany, N.Y.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.