Life Advice



Family Strains and Friend Flakes

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My husband and I are both in our second marriages, and we've been together nearly 27 years. I have no children. He has two grown sons. The younger one has lived with us since he was 11 years old. The older one was 17 when I moved in, and he decided to live with his mother instead of staying with us. Somehow, he resents both me and his brother, even though I have been nothing but welcoming to him.

Over the years, he has lashed out with hateful words and actions. At one point, he told his father and me that we were not welcome in his home and wouldn't allow us to see his children. This rift lasted many years until, finally, everyone made up. Things were good for a while and then fell apart again.

I've decided I've had enough of this toxic relationship. His brother as well as his grown children have no relationship with him. And now neither do I. The problem is, this is creating tension in my marriage, putting a wedge between me and my husband and causing a lot of arguments. My husband is the only family member who keeps in touch with him. He remarried several years ago and is expecting a baby. My husband wants me to let bygones be bygones and forgive him. I have forgiven him; I just don't want a relationship with him. I don't know how to resolve this situation, and I would truly appreciate your advice. -- Seeking Serenity

Dear Seeking: You've been through the wringer dealing with the older son's drama, and wanting to take a step back from the toxicity is understandable. It sounds like your husband is holding onto hope for a family reunion that might never happen. Having a heart-to-heart about your boundaries is key here. Let him know it's not about holding a grudge but about protecting your own mental health.

Consider bringing in a professional, like a counselor, to navigate this conversation. You're not alone in wanting a drama-free life. Your next step is communicating this with your husband.

Dear Annie: My dear friend is turning into a chronic flake, constantly canceling plans at the last minute with vague excuses. It's becoming a bit of a pattern, and truth be told, it's hurting my feelings. I can feel the resentment building up.


How do I address this without turning it into a full-blown fight? I genuinely want to keep her friendship, but these constant cancellations are really getting on my nerves. -- Flaked On and Frustrated

Dear Flaked On: Honesty is the best policy here. Share that you value your connection and want to understand what's going on. It could be that life is throwing curveballs her way. Remember, relationships that weather storms often come out stronger. An open conversation might bring clarity and even end up strengthening your bond.


"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 for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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