Annie's Mailbox: Together but Alone
Dear Annie: I have been married for 28 years to a hardworking man. We have one teenage daughter. "Kara" is very smart, and my husband spoils her rotten. Kara has her own car, and my husband gives her money whenever she asks for it. We have some money saved in a college account for her, but she wants to attend an elite school that is more than we can afford. We won't qualify for financial aid.
I think Kara needs to take the money we have saved and figure the rest out, but my opinion doesn't matter. My husband will now delay retirement in order to pay for her to go to the school of her dreams. I think this is wrong, and it's causing much tension in our household. What is your opinion? -- Annoyed Mom
Dear Annoyed: Your husband is willing to do whatever he can to give Kara what she wants. You don't think an expensive school is worth it (probably isn't), and you were looking forward to his retirement. We also suspect you harbor some resentment toward your husband, as well as Kara, for his indulgence of her.
This isn't so much about "winning" the argument as it is about accepting whatever decision is reached. We suggest you and your husband sit down with an unbiased third party and speak openly of your concerns. If Kara doesn't go to her expensive college, will she use it as an excuse to blame her parents if she isn't successful? Will your resentment boil over and create a permanent rift? Would your husband be willing to have Kara take out student loans for a portion of the cost? Hopefully, your discussion will allow for some kind of agreement so that each of you can let go of whatever resentment currently exists.
Dear Annie: I love my family and friends dearly, but some of them think it is perfectly OK to stop by unannounced. I ask only for a simple phone call to see whether it is a convenient time for them to pop in. They all have cellphones, so it's not a matter of them being unable to call. I understand the occasional unannounced visit, but not every time. How can I get them to stop? -- G.
Dear G.: If you answered the door in your birthday suit, you might get them to call first, but don't bet on it. Some people believe it is flattering that they feel so welcome, they pop in without notice. And while you might appreciate the thought, it is also inconsiderate to show up and interrupt your day when you may have other things going on. You can say, "I wish I'd known you were stopping by. I have to run out. Sorry." And then leave. Or you can close the blinds and not answer the door, but we suspect if you were willing to do that, they would already know to phone first.
Dear Annie: No Name was unhappy because his wife refuses sex. I'm sure my husband could have written that letter, but there's more to it.
Sex is easy. Intimacy is where the work and effort must be applied. Intimacy begins with a couple being able to discuss anything without the other person reacting badly. It begins by treating each other with respect, letting the spouse know she is loved. And liked. Friendship is the most solid basis for intimacy that I know of.
My husband and I have been together a long time, but it's pretty much all about him. He doesn't like to talk about anything unless I agree with him completely. Anything else is criticizing or complaining. If I ask him to do something, I'm giving him orders. He refused to be close to me unless it was for sex. So I cut him off about 10 years ago. We tried counseling, but he lied at every session. There are reasons why we are still together, but I can't help wondering for how long. -- Together but Alone
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.