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Dear Annie 8/16

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I have been married for 11 years and have a wonderful 10-year-old son; however, my marriage is on very shaky ground. I work more than 70 hours a week to maintain a wonderful home in a great community for the sake of my son. My husband, on the other hand, can barely see fit to get himself to work and is incredibly selfish on a regular basis.

For example, we recently had an argument about me donating money to charity – about $50 to $100 a month – which we can afford. This was something my son wanted us to do, and I believe our charity is a wonderful lesson for him. My husband said he has to think of himself first because “this is how you stay alive.” He said he should get that money instead of the charity.

This argument occurred on the day before my birthday. He completely did not acknowledge my 50th birthday – no card, no gifts and no recognition whatsoever. When I became upset, he told me I was being ridiculous and acting like I expected a Sweet 16 party.

If it weren’t for my son, I would have left this marriage a long time ago. My son feels the tension between us and asks me to promise we won’t split up or he would hate me. I’m sure this is what any child would say in such circumstances, but this would be my greatest fear. I am miserable but know that I deserve better. I’m just terrified to put my son through it. – Parent Who Does Not Want to Get Divorced

Dear Parent: Your husband sounds like a very unhappy person, and few things are more challenging than being married to one. You sound like a wonderful mother, and your son’s honesty with you is priceless. Children thrive in predictable, secure families with two parents who love them and love each other. If your husband’s monstrous behavior toward you does not change, it could severely damage your son.

Go to marriage counseling, and really try to make it work. Your marriage needs the help of a professional. If your husband refuses to go, then you might have to call it quits. Constantly fighting in front of your child can be just as harmful as splitting up.

Dear Annie: My brothers tried to get me to give them my 401(k) retirement money – after they depleted their own by buying themselves new cars, “investment properties” and every new electronic toy that came out – under the guise of investing my retirement funds for me.

They are both divorced now and renting (one of them was homeless for a time). Once they understood I would not bail them out of their bad choices, I never heard from them; except when they asked our 92-year-old mother for her savings because she cannot say no. – Just Say No; I Am Not a Bank

Dear Just Say No: You are right that it is OK to say no to people and maintain boundaries – even if it is with the people you love. But you might feel better if you showed your brothers a little compassion. It won’t cost you a dime, and it will make you feel good to open your heart – but not your wallet – to them.

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