Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Mister Sister Blues

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My wife and I have a baby girl, "Alice," now a year old. My wife's divorced sister, "Leora," stayed with us during most of my wife's pregnancy and moved into an apartment across the street several months after Alice's birth. She has been around constantly ever since.

The sisters always have been best friends. The two of them ended up giving the baby her first bath, taking her on her first stroll, her first trip to my mother-in-law's, lots of "firsts," while I am left out. I would like Leora to go home, so my wife and I can enjoy our baby's accomplishments.

I was hoping my wife would realize what was going on, but I fear she took my passivity as indifference. At one point I told her how I felt, and she said she understood, but things haven't really changed. Meanwhile, I have gotten reports from friends and family that Leora talks behind my back, questioning my parenting skills since she "always has to do everything." Worse, my wife says similar things about me to others.

Sex is almost nonexistent, and not from lack of interest on my part. When I try to discuss it or ask why she's never in the mood, she says nothing is wrong. But obviously there is.

I believe we are both good parents, and we provide a decent home. So, how do I get my wife to realize that her relationship with her sister has driven a wedge between us? And how do I do it in such a way that there is no animosity between all of us? --

Dear Sister Blues: Leora has become a convenient way for your wife to avoid you, both sexually and emotionally. Worry less about offending Leora and more about the health of your marriage. Tell your wife in plain English that you are unhappy, and ask her to go with you for counseling. (Don't wait until Leora walks Alice down the aisle at her wedding.)

Dear Annie: I have been in an openly gay relationship for four years. For the past 20 years, I have celebrated holidays with former high-school friends. Spouses and significant others have never been included. I recently received two invitations from individuals who, since I "came out," have stated that I am welcome in their homes. However, the invitations I received are addressed to me only.


Proper etiquette teaches us that a single person would be extended an invite which includes "and guest." I doubt they addressed their single, heterosexual guests in the same manner. Please remind your readers that those of us who are openly gay take offense when their partner is discounted to the point of nonexistence. -- Not Closeted and Not Attending

Dear Not Closeted: Actually, you have it backward. Unattached guests may be invited without dates. Attached guests are invited WITH their spouses or significant others. Your partner should have been invited since you have a long-term relationship. If spouses and significant others have never been included in these parties, your partner would not be, either, and it has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. If you object to this policy, by all means, decline.

Dear Annie: If a person behaves badly toward someone, then sends a note of apology asking for forgiveness, who should make the next move? The person who behaved badly or the recipient of the note? -- Troubled Sister

Dear Sister: The recipient of the note should have the grace to let you know you are forgiven. If, indeed, you are.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. 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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