Q. Seven months ago, I married “Jake.’’ Since that day, his family has refused to communicate with us. They claim my bridesmaids were “out to get them’’ and told Jake that I “talk too much about my travels.’’ Why would they lie about such things? We’ve attempted to work it out, but they refuse our calls. We’ve given up and are waiting for them to contact us.
Last week, we received an e-mail from Jake’s brother, accusing my husband of “trading families.’’ Since when does spending time with your in-laws count as trading families?
My family loves my husband, and since we live in the same town, we see one another frequently. My in-laws live three hours away. We used to see them once a month. His brother said they are no longer brothers and wished him good luck on the rest of his life. We responded that we’re more than willing to work things out, but it’s impossible if no one is truthful and no one talks to us.
A. We don’t know what soured this relationship at the wedding, but there is little hope for reconciliation if the in-laws won’t speak to you. Jake should try contacting his parents and siblings individually and ask if they would be willing to join the two of you for family counseling to work this out. If they refuse, sorry to say, there’s not much else you can do.
Q. I am a 15-year-old boy, and my mother is very protective. For about three years, I’ve craved a longer leash and have asked Mom to give me more independence.
She says she wants to spend more time with me, give me more hugs, and spoil me. I’m trying to break away, not be smothered. All I’m asking is to take bike rides and walks by myself. What can I do to convince her to let go a little?
A. Some overprotective parents think they are shielding their children from the cruel world, but in reality, they are simply preventing them from learning how to cope with life. She can still give you plenty of hugs, but responsible self-reliance should be encouraged.
Show your Mom this letter, and tell her you wrote it. We hope she can loosen the apron strings a little. And if that doesn’t help, please discuss the situation with your school guidance counselor.
Q. “Wondering About the Brew in Massachusetts’’ asked if non-alcoholic beer could be harmful to recovering alcoholics. I disagree with your response that it could be for some. The amount of alcohol is minuscule.
My husband was finally able to quit drinking, and nonalcoholic beer has been his key to success. It makes him feel less deprived and helps to satisfy him, and he knows he must always be vigilant. Our family is grateful that we have our husband and father back. Being around a mean, nasty person for 45 years was not easy.
MR. NICE GUY’S WIFE
A. We will reiterate our original response: The smell (not the taste) of nonalcoholic beer can trigger a relapse in some alcoholics. Each reaction is individual, and one needs to be careful.
E-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 West Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.