Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 30 years and we've had the same problem all of that time. She doesn't have an outside job, but she doesn't do much around the house, either. She doesn't clean and rarely cooks. It is always up to me to tidy up. I am forever picking up stuff, clearing piles of papers and eating mostly store-bought meals.
After a day at work, I would like to relax a bit. But I cannot tolerate this type of messy, dirty atmosphere. It upsets me and I lose my temper. This has been going on for our entire marriage and nothing changes. When I raise my voice, I am blamed for having a temper and made out to be the bad guy, and around and around we go. What can I do? -- Going Mad in Canada
Dear Mad: This type of issue should be addressed early in a marriage, before the behavior comes entrenched and resentment builds. After 30 years of enabling, you are delusional if you expect your wife to suddenly turn into a housekeeper. Losing your temper obviously isn't working. Instead, find ways to cope. Can you hire cleaning help so that the house stays mostly tidy? We also recommend that you stop making an issue of it. Instead, say nothing. Cook your own meals, clean your own dishes, wash your own clothes, and if your wife objects, tell her as sweetly as possible that she is welcome to do the same.
Dear Annie: "Heartbroken in California" needs to run for her life. No amount of counseling is going to help a guy who doesn't see that his kids are tyrants.
I married a man who has a rude teenage daughter. This kid can flip a switch. She is nasty to me and then becomes a little angel the second my husband walks in the door. When I come home from work, she won't even acknowledge me. Of course, I am not allowed to say anything about her rude behavior, or question his constant spoiling of this ungrateful brat.
Tell "Heartbroken" to get out while she can. Moving in won't fix anything. We tried counseling until we finally began addressing her awful behavior and she whined that she didn't want to go. We couldn't force her, so we got nowhere and now I just deal with it.
I have tried to be nice, but it doesn't work. My husband won't do anything about it, because he doesn't see it. My best response now is to just ignore her, as sad as that sounds. -- Frustrated in Oregon
Dear Oregon: It's too bad that your stepdaughter has chosen to ruin what could be a solid mother-daughter relationship, and that your husband prefers to keep his blinders on. We hope the daughter grows up enough to be tolerable and that your husband's other qualities make up for the frustration.
Several readers suggested that "Heartbroken" surreptitiously record her stepdaughter's bullying and then play it back for the husband. That might open his eyes, but we aren't convinced that it will change his attitude toward his child.
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 www.creators.com.