Dear Annie: I met my wife online 11 years ago. Within six weeks of our marriage, I realized she was changing. She was trim and lovely at the start, but I feared she would let herself go — and that is exactly what happened.
She is now well over 30 pounds overweight, and I can’t say anything about it or it’s abuse. I’m 64 and I keep active and stay in shape. I have no desire for her at all. We have been to counseling, but it didn’t help. I don’t know what to do. — Frustrated Husband
Dear Frustrated Husband: I’m hearing complaints you have about your wife, but have you looked at the reason she has put on 30 pounds? Is she happy in her life? Since you are active, is there any chance you could persuade her to engage in physical activity with you? Take your focus off of the number on the scale and put it onto her health. Help her find a healthy routine that she would enjoy with you. A healthy marriage is one in which you build up your partner, not find all of his or her faults.
Dear Annie: The letter you published from Missing My Things reminds me very much of my husband and me. He would go through my “stack” of things in the guise of tidying up, throw out my things he didn’t think necessary and yet throw away nothing of his own.
I asked him to let me go through my own things. I asked him to only handle his things, and I said that I would handle mine. Then I told him flat out, “If something does not belong to you, you have no right to throw it away.” One day, I found in the trash can a small plastic bucket that I had bought awhile ago at the beach, as well as sea glass, shells and rocks that I had collected for a craft project.
I asked what right he had to throw it all in the trash when it wasn’t his. His answer was that he thought they belonged to our granddaughter. What? Even if they were hers, they were not his. I told him, “You have no right to throw out something that’s not yours.” I said that when I start going through things, I will throw his things out as well. That worked. It stopped.
Maybe “Missing’s” husband has obsessive compulsive disorder or is ill, but two can play that game if he doesn’t get the point and stop. — Nip It in the Bud
Dear Nip It in the Bud: Your direct approach with your husband was the key to your success. Congrats on taking charge.
Hi, Annie: As a therapist specializing in eating disorders for 30-plus years, I’d like to weigh in about the mother worrying about her adolescent daughter’s eating and weight. This is a very common dynamic: A mother who struggles with her own weight passes her distress down to her child by being critical about her size and food intake. Making it an issue is the surest way for the daughter to develop an eating problem, and it sounds as if she may already have.
Children also often use their eating and size as a way to rebel against their parents. Suggesting that Mom invite her daughter to do more things with her may or may not be right for this young woman. She might want more independence and less contact with Mom.
Dear Therapist: Thank you for your letter. I love hearing from professionals on specific topics, and I hope it helps other mothers and daughters in similar situations.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2021 creators.com