Dear Annie: My husband, “Sam,” grew up in a family that was physically abusive.
In order to escape, he joined the military after high school. We live far away from his parents, but there are times when he wants to talk and visit with them, often followed by periods of zero contact for months on end because he is hurt again.
His parents have taken some steps to improve the situation, and they would like to start over. Right now, however, Sam isn’t willing. He hasn’t spoken to them in four months and gets upset if I suggest talking to them on his behalf.
I’m concerned that this is an unhealthy relationship and that his parents may blame me for the lack of contact. Our church is helping Sam learn about forgiveness, but he isn’t there yet. Should I keep up communication with his folks or let him deal with it? — Sam’s Wife
Dear Wife: You are kind to want your husband to have a relationship with his parents, but it is up to Sam to decide what he can handle. Tell Sam you’d like to send his parents cards on holidays and birthdays, just to keep in touch, but beyond that, you will not get involved unless he asks you to. Don’t worry about his parents assessing blame. Your job is to support your husband, not his parents. We’re glad he’s discussing this with clergy. It should help.
Dear Annie: I am 23 with a year-old baby, but I think my hormones are still out of whack. Since becoming pregnant, my temper and anxiety have been at an all-time high. It’s affecting my relationship with my family, and I’m scared I might one day end up hurting someone or walking out the door.
I don’t want to feel like this, but I don’t know what to do because I don’t have health insurance. Can I just go to a hospital and ask them to draw blood for a hormonal test? Should I get counselling? I’m willing to do anything that will help. — Going Crazy in California
Dear California: A small percentage of women experience depression during and after pregnancy, and you are smart to recognize the problem and want to get better. Talk to your pediatrician and ob-gyn about support groups and available medical help in your area. Meanwhile, let your family know you need them. Most new mothers suffer from sleep deprivation, which feeds into your stress levels. Ask for assistance. Take a nap when your child does. Get some exercise. And contact Postpartum Support International (postpartum.net) at 1-800-944-4PPD (1-800-944-4773).
Dear Annie: I had to respond to “Lonely,” the 87-year-old widower who wants to marry his 71-year-old lady friend, but she won’t introduce him to her family. He might be talking about me.
I am 71 and a two-time widow. I had to take care of two husbands, and it was exhausting. I have decided never to marry again. It would be nice to have someone to go to dinner with, but I’m afraid some 87-year-old will think he is in love when he really just wants someone to take care of him.
I suspect this is “Lonely’s” problem.
His lady friend is not about to introduce him to her children because they won’t approve of her marrying a man who is that old. Taking care of an invalid is not easy, and the worry and effort drags a person down until she is unwell herself. This guy should be content with the companionship. — Twice Widowed
Dear Twice: Obviously, your experiences have not been easy, but that doesn’t mean every 87-year-old man is going to require care.
We do agree, however, that many men enjoy having someone to cook and clean for them and hope that a wife will do so.
We don’t blame you for preferring dinner out.
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