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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spouse’s mother still runs his life

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: I’ve always known that my husband’s widowed mother runs his life. She picks out his clothes and even decided which house we should buy. Of course, it’s about a half-mile from hers.

I thought after we married I’d have a more prominent place in his life. Wrong! Every decision is still made by his mother. He acts as if I’m not smart enough. Meanwhile, his mother completely ignores me. She plans holiday gatherings and everything else with no regard for my preferences or schedule. She calls his cellphone constantly. I think it’s rude. He thinks it’s normal.

I’m seriously thinking about taking our 4-year-old and walking out. I’m not sure he would notice. I love my husband, but he doesn’t have time for me. Any suggestions? I’m ready to explode. – Second Best in Michigan

Dear Second Best: We are always surprised by people who marry and expect their spouses to suddenly change years of ingrained behavior. In order for your husband to put you first, he must be willing to do so, and he will have to simultaneously fend off his mother’s objections. We think he likes things as they are, so this is an uphill battle. You will have to explain why the change is crucial to the health of your marriage, and then insist on counseling. Keep in mind, no attitude adjustment happens overnight. And without effort on his part, it won’t happen at all.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.
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