Dear Annie: I have been married for 15 years. My husband and I still live under the same roof (for convenience), but we have drifted our separate ways. The problem is, our teenage son cannot stand to be in the same room with his father. All they do is argue, and my husband pouts like a baby, bottom lip and all.
I have asked our son to try to ignore Dad in order to keep the peace, but it is getting worse. This man, who wanted to have a child, has spent little time with our son over the years. When I was working and he had to watch our son, he would have his parents come over, and then he and his father would leave, letting my mother-in-law babysit. On weekends, he managed never to be home.
Now that our son is older, my husband thinks he has a personal slave to do all the yard work and dishes and put his stuff away when he comes home. Also, he and Grandpa have no qualms about pointing out what this kid does wrong, badgering him about it and never mentioning the things he does well.
I have had it. I don’t want my son to grow up to be like his father. Should I stay here, or should I take my son and leave? — Fed Up in Pennsylvania
Dear Fed Up: There is a lot going on here. You and your husband obviously no longer connect, and your son may be acting out his frustrations with the situation. Dad has no idea how to communicate with his son. Neither you nor your son is happy with Dad. If the marriage is dead, please stop hanging around the corpse. Your son will benefit from an emotionally stable home. Speak with a lawyer before deciding which of you should move out. All of you would benefit from counseling, and we hope you will consider it.
Dear Annie: Not every letter is about a problem. I am the luckiest guy in the world. I am 60 years old. My wife is a little younger. We will celebrate 35 years of marriage this month, complete with two children and all the trials and tribulations of every couple. We are almost empty nesters. By my wife’s own admission, menopause was easy. She is an excellent cook. We eat good food and get exercise, and both of us are in decent shape. Dates are fun, and she is a great travel partner.
Here is the point of my letter: My wife is everything a man could want, including beautiful, sexy and passionate. I can barely keep up with her passion. I have not done anything to deserve this. My character defects far exceed hers. Why my wife seems so perfect is beyond me, but I am not complaining. Rather, I am amazingly thankful. This may not be Iowa, but it does feel like heaven. — A Lucky and Appreciative Married Man
Dear Lucky: Thank you so much for writing and letting our readers see that some marriages are wonderful, and that partners can recognize and appreciate what they have. Please show this to your wife and tell her you wrote it. (And any other reader who wants to give that impression can do so, as well.)
Dear Annie: “Sensitive in the Midwest” deplored the table manners she witnessed. Here’s my advice: Most executives and CEOs of successful companies do not ignore etiquette. They are unlikely to hire anyone who cannot show decent manners, including those who use vulgar language.
If one wishes to continue through life in a low-paying job with no chance of advancement, by all means, thumb your nose at etiquette. Otherwise, parents (and individuals with aspirations) should give some thought to their appearance and presentation and insist on etiquette and its use. It shows respect for yourself and others. — Burwell, Neb.
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 Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.