Dear Annie: I have been dating “Annette” for two years, and we are inseparable. I love and appreciate her. We both still live with our families and spend the majority of our time at her house.
Annette often talks about moving in together and getting married, but after two years, she still refuses to meet my mother. She has met my father and a brother, but when it comes to my mother, her anxiety gets the better of her. Because of this, she never comes to my house. Annette says she won’t meet my mother until I propose. I have told her that I don’t feel comfortable taking things to the next level until she meets my mother.
I am afraid this is going to end our relationship. Obviously, we will not be living with our parents when we get married. But my family is still important, and I feel if she wants to be a part of it, she ought to spend time with them. How should I approach this? — Sad and Confused.
Dear Sad: Annette is too immature to get married. Life is complicated, and if she lacks the courage to face these situations, it will only get more difficult. And meeting Mom is harder now because she has put it off for two years. Unless Mom has done something unforgivable, Annette is being both childish and stubborn. We know mothers can be intimidating for the faint of heart, but Annette should be willing to meet your entire family, not only because it is what committed couples do, but because she respects you.
Dear Annie: My 94-year-old mother and her 99-year-old sister have decided they only need to take a bath every three days. Getting in and out of the tub is not the problem.
I realize that someone as sedentary as they are might not need to bathe daily, but surely every other day is a better solution. I told my mother she will smell like an old lady, but she is guided by her older sister.
Please help. — Worried About Mom
Dear Worried: Older adults do not need to shower daily, especially since the skin can become sensitive and dry. As long as your mother is washing those areas and folds of her body that require daily care, her bathing schedule is fine. Talk to her about basic hygiene and cleanliness to be sure she is using a washcloth or sanitary wipe (they now make baby wipes for adults) where necessary, and otherwise let her do what she wants. If you notice an odor, you can then bring it to her attention.
Dear Annie: This is for “Grumpy Quitter,” who promised to stop smoking. I was a heavy smoker for 40 years. When I started as a teenager, cigarettes were 11 cents a pack. They now cost more than $5.
In 1984, I got hit in the mouth with a pole and ended up losing all my teeth. One evening, due to my cigarette cough, my upper false teeth popped loose. That’s when I decided to quit. Much to my surprise, I did. My secret was not to quit at the end of the pack, carton or month, but to quit right now. If I don’t smoke that first cigarette, I won’t be able to smoke the second. This February marked the 23rd anniversary of my quitting. That partial pack of cigarettes is still in my kitchen.
Unfortunately, I didn’t quit soon enough. I developed emphysema and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It’s no fun being hooked up to oxygen. I also have poor circulation in my lower legs, but surgeons won’t operate due to my damaged lungs.
Two of my friends tried my method of not smoking that “next one” and managed to quit. There are better ways to spend your money than on hospitals and medicine, plus you’ll live longer and be healthier. — Proud Quitter
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.