December 2, 2010 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Have a talk about favored sibling

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: For my entire life, my parents have favored my younger sister, “Erin,” their only biological child. (My older brother and I are adopted.)

When I turned 16, my parents told me to get a job. When Erin turned 16, they paid for everything. Erin is now in college and engaged to a guy my parents adore. I dropped out of college, have a job and am engaged to a guy my parents hate.

When I first started dating “Dwayne,” he had a conflict with my parents, and I took his side. They kicked me out, so I moved in with him. The conflict has been resolved, but my parents won’t forgive me for living “in sin.”

Dwayne recently lost his job. His parents are helping us with rent, but my parents refuse any assistance, saying they do not support our living together. But apparently it’s OK for Erin and her fiancé to live with my parents. I am told they have separate bedrooms, but my parents spend a lot of time out of town, so who are they fooling?

I am devastated that my parents only care about a piece of paper. They would rather I live on the street than with Dwayne. My fiancé says I should cut off contact because it’s obvious they don’t care about me. Should I? Should I invite them to the wedding? – Devastated and Hurt in Idaho

Dear Devastated: We worry about a fiancé who gets into a major conflict with your parents and encourages you to cut off contact with your family. He may think he is being supportive, but he will not help you reconcile. Please invite your parents to the wedding. They are entitled to their views on cohabitation and may relax once things are legal. As for their favoritism, this is something you should discuss with them, preferably with a neutral third party who can make them understand how unfair and hurtful it is.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. E-mail questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net.

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