When Granny Is a One-Woman Bonnie and Clyde
Dear Margo: Where to begin? My mother has stolen money from all of my family members. Most of us had decreased contact with her over the years, especially me, since I’m the only one who lives out of state. The final straw came when she recently stole $1600 from a bank account she opened for my sister. When did she do this? While my sister was in a psych ward due to severe depression and a history of cutting — caused by my mother’s behavior over the years. Now we have all cut off contact.
My sister now lives with my aunt, and while I am perfectly happy not speaking to my mother again, I have a 2-year-old son who is her only grandchild. I wouldn’t trust her as far as I can throw her, and my instinct is to keep my son away from her. She asked for his Social Security number when he was born, saying it was to set up a savings account for him. I told her to do it in her name and she could give him the money when he’s older. That was the last I heard of it.
Between the childhood neglect, the stolen money and the constant evictions throughout my childhood, I obviously have a lot of resentment toward my mother. I don’t know if my anger is clouding my judgment, but I can’t think of a good reason for my son to see her. –“Glenda”
Dear Glen: I can’t think of a good reason, either. This is a woman who has been destructive and toward whom you have justified anger. I cannot imagine your child learning anything of value from her. And I honestly think that no grandma is better than a thieving one who has been harmful to you and your sibs. And she would probably filch his Lego blocks. — Margo, guiltlessly
Keeping Complications to a Minimum
Dear Margo: I have a complicated and frustrating situation, and everyone I talk to tells me a different way to handle it. So here goes.
I was seeing a guy about six years ago; we will call him “John.” I met my husband while I was seeing John; we’ll call him “Dan.” I was really torn between the two men. I eventually chose Dan and stopped seeing John. Then, when Dan and I split up for a while, I told John, but it was too late. He had already started dating someone else. It broke my heart.
Dan and I got back together, eventually married and now have two young children. We fight all the time, and there’s pretty much no sex life. We’ve been seeing a counselor, and it doesn’t seem to be working.
Recently, I ran into John, who is no longer with his girlfriend. He expressed to me that if he had known how I felt, he would have broken it off with the other woman. It kills me to know that all this time things could have been different. Nothing has happened between us, but we talk. I don’t think I could ever have any kind of affair. I feel like I need to try harder with my husband, mostly because of the kids. But don’t I ever get to be happy? –Unsure
Dear Un: You are wise to incline toward the view that an affair is not the answer. Often it just multiplies the problems. I would suggest you give the marriage more time (set a limit in your mind). If things don’t improve, then I would end it, and your heart’s desire might still be around and he might not. I am not in favor of living one’s life in misery, and a rotten marriage does nothing for kids. –Margo, rationally
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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