Dear Annie: I’m 50 years old and have two adult children. Their mother and I divorced 15 years ago. Throughout our marriage, my wife had many affairs. She’s married twice since we split up.
Five years ago, my son married a woman who has become close to my ex. My daughter-in-law has labeled me a mental case to many family members, friends and acquaintances. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen my son in the past five years, and each time, he was extremely disrespectful and said horrible things to me. They now have a 2-year-old son, whom I have seen only briefly on three occasions even though they live nearby. I believe my ex-wife has had a great influence in turning my son into a cold, ruthless person.
I’m financially well off and recently updated my will to leave my son only $20 because of all the pain and anguish he has caused me. I prefer to distance myself from him, but I would like to have a relationship with my grandson. Is there any way to do this? — Proud Grandpa
Dear Grandpa: Not without also having some type of relationship with your son. After all, he isn’t preventing you from seeing the boy. Some states are sympathetic to grandparents’ rights, but your son might be able to convince the judge that his distancing is in his son’s best interest, and you could be cut out entirely. It’s risky, and we don’t recommend it for you.
We have no doubt that your ex-wife has influenced her son and his wife. But if you want a relationship with your grandson, you need to tolerate his parents and be civil to them. Perhaps in time they will see how much their child loves you and will warm up. We hope so.
Dear Annie: I married my wife in 1957. We were compatible in every way and very much in love. We have four children, eight grandkids and 11 great-grandkids. Since the day I met her, whenever I held her or kissed her, she was always my 16-year-old sweetheart. She is still the gal I fell in love with.
About five years ago, my wife lost interest in lovemaking and will not talk about why. I’m sure she isn’t cheating. She is 73, and I am 79. After 55 years together, I have finally noticed that she has aged. She just laughs when I say that I wish she would still act like my 16-year-old gal when I hold her and kiss her. I truly miss her touch and sweet words. She tells me she loves me, but it doesn’t feel like it.
The thing I want to get across is to always treat your partner like you did the first day you met him or her. It’s the best way of getting to your 57th anniversary. I promised to love her until the day I die, and I will keep that promise until we are head-to-head in our mausoleum 5th-floor penthouse. — The Old Fool
Dear Fool: We sympathize, but we are also astounded at how many men truly do not understand what happens to a woman’s libido at menopause and beyond. Your wife’s lack of interest in lovemaking has nothing to do with how much she cares for you. She would probably love being your 16-year-old sweetheart, but her current hormonal state doesn’t permit it. It’s a physical change. There are treatments, but they don’t work for everyone. Talk to your wife. Say that her physical touch – not sex – would mean the world to you, and ask whether she would be a bit more affectionate.
Dear Annie: Thank you for printing the letter from “Disgusted in New York,” whose 85-year-old aunt wasn’t bathed in the hospital.
I have been a nurse for many years. We never give baths in bathtubs to patients. We “bathe” them in bed – what my mother would have called a sponge bath. Also, it is possible to shower people who can handle a shower chair. However, this lady seemed to have an odor, thus none of the proper things was done for her well-being and comfort. — A.S. RN
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.