Dear Annie: My husband and I retired several years ago and built a house in the country. He told me that one day he might have to let his widowed mother live with us.
I had no problem with that until she actually moved in. For the past three years, this woman has played on my husband’s feelings.
She won’t make any new friends and expects him to stay in the house 24/7 with her because she is afraid to leave the premises. Our friends stopped asking us to go out with them, and they no longer come to the house.
On top of that, my mother-in-law doesn’t pick up after herself and throws her things all over. She henpecks my husband to no end, reminding him to put a coat on, take his medicine, turn the dishwasher on, etc.
Mom promised that when she moved in, nothing would change and we could still have our own life.
What a laugh. She gives him a guilt trip day in and day out. We always got along, but now I resent her enormously. Out of respect for my husband, I haven’t said anything, but it’s reached the boiling point. Any gentle advice? — Ready To Move Out
Dear Ready: You and your husband need to discuss this privately so he knows how unhappy you are, and that he’s not helping his mother by allowing her to become so dependent on him, cooped up and isolated all day.
Enlist his sister’s help by having her take Mom a couple of times a year so you can get a break.
If she refuses, ask her to contribute to the cost of hiring a companion once a week. Also look into area senior programs where Mom can meet others and get out of the house, and many provide transportation. Please work on this before the resentment becomes too much to handle.
Dear Annie: I am 16 and have an eating disorder. I’m not dangerously thin yet, but I am afraid that when I go to college, I could take it too far.
I don’t know who to talk to about this. Neither of my parents would understand. Are there any websites I could contact and find someone to talk to? — Confused
Dear Confused: You are smart to recognize that you have a problem and understand that going away to college could exacerbate whatever issues are behind your eating disorder.
Here are some reliable organizations that can help you: the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders.org) at 1-800-931-2237; the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (anad.org) and the National Women’s Health Information Center at 1-800-994-9662.
Dear Annie: Not Family Yet said her fiance’s grandpa molested his mom and sister and the family has kept the secret under wraps.
My sister and I were molested by my father over 50 years ago. We thought it was a private matter, told no one and let it fade into the background as we married and had families of our own.
I never left my children alone with Dad, but he still managed to molest one of the grandchildren.
I confronted Dad for the first time and he denied everything. I told him if he did it again, I would go to the police. My mother was ashamed and begged me to keep quiet, but I told my siblings. Some of them didn’t want to hear it.
Dad is in his 90s now, and we must still keep the children away from him. Molestation lasts a lifetime.— No Name
Dear N. N.: It took courage for you to speak up, but it was the right thing to do. Please know your story will help others do the same.
Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.