Dear Annie: I have been with my fiance for 14 years, and we have had our fair share of problems. Three months ago, I left, taking our kids with me. But I came back when he asked me to. I figured I owed it to the children to try to work things out. But nothing has changed.
I don’t have a job outside the home. However, I do have credit card debt. He used to help pay it off, but now he refuses to pay any of my bills. He won’t give me any money except to buy groceries. Our car used to be in both of our names, but now it is only in his name. I’m not allowed to go anywhere without asking for permission or to talk to any of my family and friends unless he says it’s OK.
We also live with his parents, and every time I don’t do the dishes, they complain. I do all the other housework, but it isn’t enough. What do I do? He thinks everything is just fine. — At My Wits’ End
Dear Wits: Get out. This is an abusive relationship. Your fiance has removed all sources of income and support from you so that you are completely dependent on him. Please contact the Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 800-799-7233. You need help now.
Dear Annie: My son and his first wife had a destination wedding in a foreign country. My husband and I hosted an engagement party in our hometown, and a friend of mine threw the bride a shower. My son and daughter-in-law divorced, and he is now engaged and planning a second wedding.
My brother-in-law made a comment that he and his wife do not send gifts for second weddings. My son is torn about how to handle the invitations. While it is his second marriage, it is the bride’s first. He doesn’t believe she should be penalized because his first wife ended their marriage.
What is the etiquette regarding this matter? We certainly don’t want anyone to feel that my son and his fiancee are wanting heaps of gifts and money, especially when these family members and friends “showered” him with gifts the first time around. — Vexed Mother of the Groom
Dear Vexed: First-time brides are entitled to wedding and shower gifts, regardless of the groom’s prior marital history. Of course, shower invitations can be weighted toward her family and friends, but also may include close family members and friends on the groom’s side. Guests who feel overburdened with shower gifts do not have to attend. And while wedding gifts are always appropriate, those who sent gifts for your son’s first wedding may wish to give a more modest gift the second time around. The intention is to invite people to share the celebration.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Frustrated Son,” whose mother was insisting that he be confirmed in the Catholic Church. As the director of religious education in a Catholic parish, I deal with this issue frequently. The choice to be confirmed is the son’s.
A good first step is for the son to talk to his parish priest, who might very well agree that he is not ready to receive the sacrament of confirmation. If that is the case, he absolutely should not be confirmed at this time. He cannot be forced, because any sacrament given against someone’s will is not valid.
Both my children said early on in their confirmation training that they did not want to be confirmed. We compromised that they would go to the classes, do the volunteer work and go on the retreat. If, after completing the two-year training, they still felt that they did not want to be confirmed, it was their choice. — Boston
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.