Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Annie's Mailbox for 10/23/2017

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I recently married "Kevin," who has been divorced for four years. We decided to live in his house. I knew we'd have adjustment issues, but even so, things don't seem to be working out.

The house is in his name only, although I pay toward utilities, upkeep, etc. But everything has to be his way. Kevin likes the place to be "neat," which doesn't mean cleaning. It means shoving stuff into a cupboard so no one sees it. Also, all of the furniture is from his first marriage. I want to update a few things, and he won't let me. He says his stuff is in good shape.

Everything reminds me of his ex and his previous life. I told Kevin I'd like to have a few things that we selected ourselves. He told me the divorce drained him, and he wants to pay the house off before buying anything new. So I offered to purchase things with my own money. He said no.

When I moved in, he wanted my belongings thrown away, yet he has drawers of junk from 10 years ago. After five months of marriage, I figured my things would be out of storage. Instead, Kevin says we have everything we need and my stuff is "duplicate." But some of my possessions are in better shape than his, and I'd at least like the option of going through them with him and seeing what is worth keeping.

I'm just so upset, and I'm wondering whether this marriage is a mistake. Any suggestions? -- Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Kevin doesn't seem ready to commit to a full partnership. The two of you should be able to discuss all issues instead of one of you making unilateral decisions. But this doesn't have to be an insurmountable problem. Explain to Kevin that you are deeply unhappy with the current situation, and ask him to come with you for some short-term counseling to work on combining your lives in a more positive way.

Dear Annie: I am tired of vulgar language, especially at work. Whenever my department head becomes frustrated, he thinks it's OK to use whatever words he wants. So if he's upset, he thinks it's fine to upset others by using offensive language.

He knows I don't care for it and has tried to tone it down. But not much has changed. I'm a quiet guy and keep to myself. I don't like conflict. So I have done nothing even though it bothers me and puts me in a bad mood when I hear such language. Any suggestions? -- North Carolina

Dear North: You must speak up if you expect anything to change. You could talk to the department head, saying that you would appreciate it if he would control his use of unprofessional language a bit more during working hours. He has already made a small effort, so your words will not go unheeded. You also could enlist other co-workers to speak to him, or you could go over his head and complain to a supervisor.

But if asserting yourself is not possible, we can only suggest that you indicate disapproval at the time, hoping he will eventually learn to modify his behavior. You also could leave the room, wear headphones or ignore him. Sorry.

Dear Annie: I understand the problem of "Pastor's Wife in the Midwest." I am a church organist and have been stiffed by the wedding couple, as well. Playing for a wedding involves practice time, attending the rehearsal and additional hours on the day of the wedding. We also must purchase the music and deal with soloists.

I play in a small country church and know most of these people personally, so I don't feel comfortable demanding a certain amount. But pastors, soloists and organists are part of the wedding expenses and should be compensated for these important occasions that cannot take place without them. -- Here Comes the Bride and $$$

This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at



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