Dear Annie: My husband and his brother are very close. Too close.
“Chris” calls his brother every day, sometimes twice a day, and talks for an hour or more each time. Whenever we go out, it is to his brother’s house two hours away.
Recently, Chris and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. We reserved a room in a nice hotel, which just happened to be near his brother.
Shortly before we arrived, his brother called to say he’d meet us at the hotel and take us out to dinner for our anniversary.
This was a nice gesture, but we had already made other plans, which we then cancelled. After dinner, his brother came back to the hotel and spent most of the evening with us.
In the morning, we immediately went to my brother-in-law’s, where we spent the next few days. I was really upset.
Chris insists his brother was being nice and I am being selfish and jealous. He says families should celebrate together on anniversaries. I think it should have been a private time for my husband and me. Am I overreacting? I am still upset. — Coming in Second
Dear Second: You are not overreacting. Chris and his brother seem quite enmeshed, and that relationship is more important to him than the one he has with you.
But we don’t understand why it has taken you 50 years to decide it bothers you. At this point, it may not be possible to change your husband’s behaviour, although you might discuss it with him and see if he would be willing to make anniversaries private celebrations — for your sake.
Dear Annie: There are so many articles written on how to get the spark back into a relationship, but I’ve never seen the obvious one — committing to taking care of the way you look, for yourself, your health and your partner.
During my 18 years of marriage, I have worked hard to maintain my weight.
I am still in good shape. I think everyone has an unwritten expectation that their partner won’t go to pot, but some people take better care of their cars than their bodies.
My husband is 60 pounds overweight, and his doctor told him he qualifies as obese.
I know how very hard it is to lose weight, but if couples took pride in their health and looks, there would be a lot more excitement in the bedroom. Turning out the lights is not what I had in mind.
I know I cannot make my husband lose weight, but maybe if you print this, he will understand my point. And maybe a few others will, as well. — Married to Tubby
Dear Married: It’s true that some folks decide that marriage means never having to take care of themselves again, but it usually is more complicated. Pregnancy can make future weight loss difficult, stress can cause people to compensate with food, and heavy workloads limit exercise time.
Sometimes severe weight or hygiene problems can indicate depression.
Please talk to your husband about this and see if you can interest him in eating healthier and getting some exercise — because you love him and want him to be around for a long time.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Stiffed in Iowa,” whose parents are giving half of their estate to their alma mater and the rest to their three children.
“Stiffed” thinks she and her siblings are entitled to all of her parents’ estate.
I hope her parents see that letter and are able to teach one more lesson: It would be beneficial to their greedy child to take her share of the estate and donate it to a charitable cause, leaving that child only their best wishes. How proud I would be if my parents had the foresight to do something so wonderful. — Grateful in North Dakota
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.