Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Tired of Waiting

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I have been with "Tony" for three years. When I started seeing him, I didn't realize he was still legally married to a woman who cheated on him. He promised to divorce, but things remain the same. He claims "it's just a piece of paper" and we are married in our hearts. I've tried explaining that it feels disrespectful, but he doesn't get it.

Tony and his wife wanted to avoid court, so they drew up papers with a mediator. But each time she sends them, he finds she has hidden something that goes against what they agreed, and he refuses to sign until the papers are fixed. But Tony always waits for her to make the next move. In the past, whenever he pushed for resolution, she made it difficult for him to see their children.

It annoys me that Tony doesn't try harder to end this. Worse, he and his wife still have a joint checking account. He keeps saying he'll close it, but he hasn't. Tony is a known procrastinator, but I am hurt and frustrated. Enough is enough.

I don't want to throw away what we have, but I'm beginning to resent him and his promises. I think the only way he will open his eyes is if I leave. But I love him, and our family is happy together. Am I being unreasonable? -- Tired of Waiting

Dear Tired: Tony doesn't want to rock the boat and figures you'll stick it out. But it could take a long time, and his wife enjoys holding the puppet strings. (And there is absolutely no excuse to be sharing a bank account.) Tony needs to see a lawyer who will establish visitation rights and make sure the wife sticks to the agreement. If he refuses, it is your choice whether your life is better with him or without him.

Dear Annie: I am a high school junior and attend a competitive school. I make good grades, and my parents have always been supportive.

I recently scored a 212 on the PSAT, which is terrific. But when I told my mom the results, she seemed disappointed. She said in order to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, my score has to be over 215. She shows no pride in my accomplishment.

I've expressed to her how disheartening this is, but she simply restates that I need a higher score for the scholarship. Annie, my family is not financially needy. I am more than capable of getting into a good school and finding other ways to get scholarships. Is she right to be so unenthusiastic? -- Feeling Unappreciated


Dear Feeling: We're not sure why your mother is so convinced you didn't qualify. The PSAT score required to be a National Merit Scholarship finalist varies from year to year, state to state. Last year's winning score may not be this year's, and the results won't be out until September. We think she may be afraid of jinxing you, and that's why she has put a damper on her excitement. So from us: Way to go!

Dear Annie: We love your column. But why would you tell "Hurt and Confused in Wisconsin" to make nice with her malicious, cruel stepmother-in-law?

It's OK to try to mend family rifts if the offenders will meet you halfway. But if the abuse is going to continue, the only good route is to turn both cheeks and walk away. Life can be sweeter without rotten in-laws, parents, children and stepparents. Keep the good ones, and toss the toxic trash. I tell 'em: "Have a nice life," and I truly wish them well. But we owe it to ourselves to have mostly positive people in our lives. -- The Villages, Fla.

Dear Fla.: A good point, but we didn't tell her to "make nice." We said her husband can try a last-ditch effort to mend things by asking his father and stepmother to go with him for counseling. We'll stand by that.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2018. 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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