Dear Annie: I have been married for 50 years and don't think I can stand one more day. The man I am married to was once everything to me. Now, as each day passes, I grow more resentful. I like him less and less, almost to the point of hatred.
He has always been a good provider. He worked while I stayed at home and raised our five children. Back then, I would never have expected him to come home and help around the house. But things are different now. It's just the two of us and our animals. We are in our mid-70s, and I am still doing all of the work inside this large five-bedroom house. He refuses to help with anything. He lies on the sofa and channel surfs while I do everything.
There is nothing physically wrong with him. His doctor says he's in great shape. He shows no sign of mental decline, either. Downsizing to a smaller home is not an option for him. He likes it here. I have told him how I feel time and again, and that I'd like his help around the house, but he just looks at me. Maybe he wants a divorce and is too cowardly to verbalize it. In any event, I am past the point of caring. I just want out. -- Old and Trapped
Dear Trapped: Your husband may not want out. He may simply want to sit on the sofa while you do all the work. And you are doing it, so he sees no reason to change. You have some options: You can stop doing the cooking, cleaning and laundry for him, letting his clothes pile up and his food remain uncooked; you can look into hiring help; you can get counseling; you can seek legal counsel and leave, with or without a divorce. If your husband values the marriage, he will step up. If he doesn't, at least you will know and can plan your future accordingly.
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Dear Annie: After reading the letter from "Need Some Relief," I thought I'd share how our family handles Christmas with four adult children and their spouses, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren (and an occasional visiting in-law).
Dinner is at our house every year. Everyone participates by graciously bringing a dish. One son's family prepares the turkey, with mashed potatoes and gravy. Another brings all the drinks. We prepare stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Others bring apple and pumpkin pies. Traditional!
We discuss dishes in advance, so there are no duplicates. It is such fun and each family feels good about sharing. New recipes are exchanged. We also decided to forego gift-giving and do a $5 Christmas exchange. We all sit in a circle holding our "special number," anxiously awaiting our turn to pick the wrapped gift of our choice.
Even the little ones screamed with delight, not at the gift, but because everyone was laughing and clapping. What a joyous occasion.
Last, but not least, I insist on a group picture with everyone holding up their prized possessions. There is always a huge smile on each face. Because in the end it is being together that really matters. -- Happy in Florida
Dear Happy: Your letter is refreshing. This is what holidays are all about. Or should be.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at creators.com.