Annie Lane is off this week. The following column was originally published in July 2016.
Dear Annie: I’m a grandmother to five children. My son Brian and his wife, Amanda, have a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old together.
They live several states away, about a five-hour drive. I get to see them close to once a month, though, as they continually ask me to watch the kids while they go on vacation.
When their baby was only 3 months old, they took a trip to a resort in Mexico. Personally, I would never leave an infant, so I don’t understand their desire to leave so often. Now they’re going on a weeklong cruise, and I’ll be baby-sitting again.
I don’t mind watching the grandkids. I love them to the moon and back, and really, I appreciate how nice it is that I get to spend time with them, especially while they’re still little and thrilled to see their grandma. But I think it’s getting out of hand, and I feel as if my son and daughter-in-law think I don’t have a life of my own. Am I being ridiculous? – Frustrated Grandma
Dear Frustrated: Here’s a word that will change your life: “No.” Try using it the next time your son and his wife are daydreaming of making a tropical getaway and leaving you in charge of their home life.
Giving in to their requests all the time will leave you feeling taken advantage of and resentful. And that’s a surefire way to damage your relationship with your son. Set boundaries.
Dear Annie: I am dating Jacob, a man I met online two years ago. Soon after we connected online, I broke it off with the guy I had been seeing and flew to meet Jacob in Utah, where he lives. We hit it off and decided to start a long-distance relationship. (I live on the East Coast.)
Things were great for the first few months. Then we started fighting almost every day, mostly about small stuff; he wasn’t calling me enough and hadn’t visited me (when I had visited him twice). We worked out a better routine, and he started visiting me every few months. But now I’m dealing with some other issues.
Jacob is Mormon. (I’m not religious.) He isn’t fully committed to his faith anymore, but he still goes to church every week and has a lot of friends from that community. One of these friends is a woman who is about his age (he’s 40) and has taken to sending me threatening Facebook messages about how I am “bad” and Jacob is a “good man” who deserves “a nice Mormon girl.” She makes me feel like a terrible person, and I’ve never even met this lady!
I brought this up with Jacob, but he continues to act as if everything is fine when he sees this woman in group settings. He said he doesn’t want to confront her, because they have so many friends in common. I wish he would tell her to stop. He just laughs it off and says, “That’s just how Mary is. Don’t worry about her.” Well, I do worry! – Secular Girlfriend
Dear Secular: Mormon or not, Jacob should not be allowing anyone to harass you in any way. If he is allowing this to go on from across the country, I shudder to think what he would tolerate if you lived in the same city. It sounds as if he either does not have much of a backbone to stick up for you or he does not care enough to. Move on and try to find a new boyfriend.
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