Dear Annie: My 40-year-old daughter has had behavioural and psychological issues her whole life.
In recent years, she has behaved very irresponsibly — drinking, doing drugs, fighting with her family, becoming unemployed and spending too much money. Last year, she and her husband filed for bankruptcy and lost their home. The police have even been to their house for domestic violence issues. My nine-year-old grandson is subjected to all of this.
I have funneled thousands into this dilemma and have been treated with a lack of gratitude and respect. I finally blew my stack and told my daughter how I felt about her behaviour. Now she won’t allow me or anyone in my family to see my grandson. What do I do? — At My Wits’ End
Dear Wits’ End: Depending on your state, you might be able to sue for visitation. If you choose to go that route, please seek legal counsel. You might also consider trying to get custody of your grandson if the parents are as unfit as you portray them. However, in most instances, the best recourse is to reconcile with the parents.
Your daughter is a mess, and it doesn’t help her or your grandson if you scold her and become estranged. Please do whatever you need to in order to get back in her good graces so you can keep an eye on your grandchild. He needs a stable person in his life.
Dear Annie: Two years ago, my husband and I retired and moved to Florida. I have a volunteer job one day a week. However, I have not met any female friends who I see on a regular basis.
My husband found a group of guys to golf with, and he also goes fishing with them. Sometimes he is gone all day. The guys are mostly single, divorced men in their 60s, so I can’t even socialize with their wives.
I do not golf, so don’t advise me to take it up. On the days we are together, it’s a struggle to find things we both enjoy. He has never been affectionate. He’s never given me a compliment in all the years we have been married. He cooks and helps around the house, but he’d obviously rather be with his buddies. I want him to be happy, but I am lonely.
I’ve also noticed that his friends have had quite an influence on the way he behaves. I worry if I take off to visit my family, he will spend more time with them and things will get worse.
We seem to be drifting apart. I never thought retirement would be so difficult. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being married and lonely. Any ideas? — Alone in Florida
Dear Florida: You need to find things to keep you busy. Your husband is obviously not going to provide a social life, but surely there are activities you enjoy. The community centre, park district or retirement residences probably organize groups to attend plays or concerts. Find a book or gourmet club in your area. Join a gym and sign up for a fitness class where you can meet other women on a regular basis. Volunteer at the local hospital or library. They would appreciate you.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “Ring-a-Ding,” the lady who had been married for 20 years and resented the “cheap” engagement ring with the tiny diamond that her husband bought her when they first married.
My husband and I are nearing the 40-year mark and have accumulated a great deal of money in assets. Although he has bought me many expensive pieces of jewelry, none of them means as much to me as my $8 wedding band.
That symbol of where we started stands for 40 years of love, struggles, ups and downs, and our enduring faith in each other. — Happily Married
Dear Happily: Thank you for saying that it’s the quality of the love, not the size of the ring that counts.
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.