Dear Annie: I was married for 35 years to a cheating husband.
We have been separated for the past nine. The house we have lived in for 25 years belongs to me. It has three floors. I live on the top floor, my son and his family live in the middle, and my estranged husband lives on the bottom level. Here is the problem. My husband has his current girlfriend over all the time. This is a bit much. I get very angry when I see them together and even angrier when my children visit their father when his girlfriend is with him. I believe he is being inconsiderate and disrespectful. I think at the very least he should acknowledge my feelings on the matter and keep her visits to a minimum. What do you think? — Kitty
Dear Kitty: We think you are not separated enough. Unless you plan to get back together with your husband, you should not be sharing a home. It complicates everything. If you want to reconcile, get into counselling. If you don’t, you must learn to be more tolerant of his social life. Right now, you are his landlord and not mauch more.
We don’t understand why you haven’t asked Hubby to move out, but since he hasn’t, you’ll simply have to figure out a way to put up with the girlfriend. And please let your son make his own choices.
Dear Annie: I am a young adult still living at home with my parents and am not financially stable enough to move out. My family and I clash, but the fights are usually with my mother. The toll it takes on me is unbearable. My parents automatically assume that because I’m one-half of the fight, I’m the one who needs therapy. I have been to multiple therapists, yet there has been no change. While I admit to my fair share of demons, I believe therapy hasn’t worked because my parents refuse to attend the sessions. I cannot work out our problems without their participation. What do I do? I think therapy is a waste of time if I am doing all the work alone. I do not have these problems with other people at work or at school. I love my family, but unless they agree to work on these issues with me, I don’t see any end to the fighting. — Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: Ask your therapist to speak to your parents about the importance of changing the family dynamic, which means their participation is critical. In the meantime, please find your own place to live, even if it means a dorm, an apartment with six roommates or staying with a friend. You need to put some distance between you and your parents.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “At My Wits’ End,” whose husband doesn’t understand the problems of her 17-year-old bipolar daughter.
In California, the courts can appoint a legal guardian for mentally ill people. It’s called an “LPS Conservatorship,” and it lasts for one year and can be renewed annually if the person has not improved.
My 53-year-old brother has been under an LPS conservatorship for the past 15 years. Before that, my family’s lives were constantly disrupted by my brother’s outbursts, especially when he would stop taking his meds. Under the program, the conservatee cannot refuse his medications.
A conservatorship even allows the state to manage my brother’s life, if necessary. The less successful the person is, the more the conservator can become involved, find appropriate services and advocate.
That mother should check with her state to see whether something like this is available for her daughter. — California
Dear California: Thank you for the suggestion. We hope anyone in this situation will look into it.