Dear Annie: My wife and I married four and a half years ago, the second marriage for both of us. I have had dogs virtually all of my life. My wife was aware of this. I brought three dogs into the marriage, and my wife was also well aware of their habits. She likes dogs, but she does not adore them as I do because of the hair that they shed and the fact that our Boston terrier sometimes urinates in the house, making it difficult to keep the carpet clean.
Two of our pups are 10 years old; the other is 11. We will likely lose all of them within a couple of years. My wife has proclaimed that when our dogs have all departed, she does not want any others. This is devastating to me. She has been cool to my suggestion of a compromise in which we have two dogs, neither of which would be a breed that sheds a great deal of hair.
I do not know how we get around this logjam, and it is something that is causing me great distress well before we face this. Any advice you could offer would be appreciated. -- Dog Lover
Dear Dog Lover: When someone says they don't like dogs, what they probably mean to say is they don't like the mess they make, the training they need and the money they cost. You're already halfway there by suggesting a dog breed that doesn't shed. Next, assure your wife you'll lead the charge with all the dog-related chores -- and then follow through.
Dear Annie: My 22-year-old nephew is an only child who lives with his parents and has never lived on his own. He dropped out of college and has never held a job for more than a couple of weeks. He has no interest in learning to drive, and his parents drive him to and from events he wishes to attend. His parents pay for his entertainment, and they treat him to expensive dinners out at least once a week. He doesn't have any chores or responsibilities and isn't expected to pay rent or otherwise earn his keep. His parents don't seem to be interested in pushing him to grow up, and I'm concerned about his future.
His parents had him later in life, and I'm worried about what is going to happen to him when they are gone. He doesn't have any skills and is totally undisciplined. When I mentioned my concerns to his parents, they just shrugged it off and said they didn't want to push him to do anything he doesn't want to do. Is there anything I can do to help this young man? I'm really worried about him. -- Concerned
Dear Concerned: Try spending more time with your nephew to get a sense of what career paths might make sense for him. Does he have a passion or a certain set of skills? Remind him that a job is more than a way to pay the bills; it can provide a sense of fulfillment and boost self-esteem.
It is good that you care for him -- it shows that you are a kind person -- but remember that you are not his parent, and you can't stop his parents from supporting him. One way or another, he will learn how to make it on his own. But he may end up learning the hard way.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.