Back in the nest, child makes a mess
DEAR ANNIE:My relationship with my 22-year-old daughter, "Lana," has become impossible. She is a total slob. She lived here over the summer and did exactly one load of laundry. It was not uncommon to come home and find dishes in the sink because she "didn't have time" to empty the dishwasher. Her clothes and shoes were everywhere. My husband paid rent on her college apartment so she could keep it while she worked here for the summer, and she decided to use her own money to take a weeklong vacation. She didn't pay her car insurance (my husband did), and she spent a fortune on clothes. Lana says she is entitled to "downtime" when she's here. Well, I'd like some of that, too.
I think I am enabling Lana to continue her selfish, childlike behavior. My husband simply says, "That's how she is," as if I'm supposed to roll over and accept it. Here's the problem: Lana is in her final year of college and next summer will be returning for a semester of student teaching. I do not want her living here. She has no respect for our home or us.
We want Lana to be a responsible, considerate adult. I have spoken with her countless times about our expectations, and she continues to defy us. I know she has a good heart, but the anger and resentment are eating me up inside. My husband gives in every time, and I don't think he is doing her any favors.
I wouldn't mind helping Lana financially if she showed some appreciation and made an effort to grow up. I can't continue like this. What do I do? — Loving and Missing All at the Same Time
DEAR LOVING MOM:We agree that you are enabling your daughter to behave like a spoiled brat because there are no consequences to her inconsiderate behavior. Lana should know that if she lives at home, she must contribute to the housekeeping and pay a reasonable amount of rent. If she doesn't agree, she can live elsewhere. And your husband needs to support your efforts to help Lana become independent.
DEAR ANNIE:I love my wife more than when I met her 35 years ago. We rarely disagree on anything. She shows her love in many ways — managing the household, doing things with me and for me, and providing a sterling example for our two children.
One way she chooses not to show love is through intimacy. I can't remember the last time she initiated lovemaking. Most of the time, my advances result in rebuffs. In bed recently, she explained that if I didn't stop "pestering her," she would have to relocate. I am starting to feel like a groper. Do I need to find a way to turn off my motor? — The Thrill is Gone
DEAR THRILL:Your wife might appreciate that, but it is not the optimal choice. Many women lose interest in sex after menopause, but a regular sex life is healthy for both men and women, and especially for a marriage. Explain to your wife how much it would mean to you if she could make the effort to be intimate. You also can seek the assistance of her doctor or a counselor who could hopefully get her to understand why this is so important and offer specific suggestions.
DEAR ANNIE:This is for "Not Liking Mother in Connecticut." There is something she can do for her disabled sister who lives with Mom. She can call Adult Protective Services in her sister's state. If she mentions her concerns of possible abuse, APS will send someone to evaluate the situation and speak to the sister without the mother present. — Pennsylvania
DEAR PENNSYLVANIA:We hope she is willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that her sister is properly cared for.