Annie: Couple's bone of contention is wife's daughter

June 27, 2014 

DEAR ANNIE: My wife and I are in our late 60s and have been married for six years. We have a great deal in common and are happy together.

Our one bone of contention is her daughter. "Justine" is in her late 30s, married and living overseas. Yet every time she visits, she expects to get picked up and dropped off at the airport, despite the major problems that driving both ways can cause for us.

When she comes without her husband, she reverts to being an irresponsible teenager, treating the house and its contents as if she had never left. She comes and goes as she pleases, helps herself to the fridge contents, takes over our cellphone, uses our car without filling the gas tank and hogs the computer, all without a thought for the disruption she is causing.

Her mother apparently doesn't see anything wrong with this.

I hate to see my darling wife taken advantage of like this. How can we change this before we have a major argument that will benefit no one? -- Cranky Canadian

DEAR CRANKY: Please talk to your wife about some boundaries regarding Justine. Make concrete suggestions (Justine will take a cab from the airport; she will have restrictions on the use of your computer, cellphone and car, etc.), and ask your wife to agree to enforce these conditions for Justine's next visit. But we warn you: Unless your wife is willing to put her foot down, nothing will change. If that is the case, please tolerate these visits as best you can, because getting between your wife and her daughter is a lose-lose situation for you.

DEAR ANNIE: Forty-two years ago, I married a kind, gentle, caring man. Over the years, however, he became hateful and mean. I spent the past 20 years trying to make it through one more day without spurring his anger, often unsuccessfully.

Finally, I asked his doctor to check my husband for depression. His kind doctor prescribed a mild antidepressant. What a change I am seeing! I love my husband like I did 40 years ago and look forward to growing old with him. Please continue to encourage people to see their doctor about depression. Things can be better. -- His Wife

DEAR WIFE: Thank you for the testimonial. Sometimes, depression manifests itself as anger, withdrawal, mood swings or other behavioral problems that are not recognized as depression. We are glad you could communicate the problem to his doctor, who listened and took action that helped.

To write to Annie's Mailbox, send to c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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