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Annie’s Mailbox: Husband puts his daughter first

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I have been married to “Jerry” for 10 years. We each have adult daughters from previous relationships.

Jerry has a peculiar relationship with his daughter, “Serena.” She was taken from him by her mother at a very early age, and he did not see her again until she was 13. At age 15, she got into a fight with her mother and came to live with Jerry. He and his roommate allowed the girl to drink liquor and use their car.

At some point, she was found in Jerry’s bed having sex with a strange man. She also ran up $1,000 in telephone charges calling her boyfriend back home. When Serena went back to Mom, I moved in with Jerry. But Serena would call at all hours of the night.

When she had another fight with Mom, Jerry invited her back without asking me. I put a lock on the phone, and Serena became angry and returned to Mom. After that, her relationship with Jerry was on-and-off for 10 years.

Jerry now visits Serena and her young son twice a year for six weeks at a time, which drives me nuts. I find her to be manipulative and toxic and don’t care to deal with her.

Last month, Jerry insisted I talk to her when she phoned at 3 a.m., and all she did was scream at me for 30 minutes. Jerry backed her up. I told Jerry that Serena needs to apologize.

I am upset by the way Jerry behaves toward her. When she is ill, he waits on her hand and foot, but when I was in a motorcycle crash, he expected me to get up and cook dinner. He wants me to embrace Serena the way he does, but I cannot do it. What should I do? – Second Place

Dear Second: Jerry has put Serena first, which means he will always take her side in any argument with you, and she knows it. Don’t expect any apologies.

The question is what to do about your marriage. Get some counseling, with or without Jerry, and figure out whether you are better off with or without him.

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