Dear Annie: How do I handle troubling medical news?

Dear Annie: A month ago, I received some troubling news from my doctor. She said I have a rare bone marrow disorder and have five years at the most to live. What was troubling was that my wife of 35 years started to withdraw from me as if she is already readying herself for a life without me. I tried to tell her how I feel, but she turns it around saying it’s just me.

-- Lost

Dear Lost: First and foremost, I am deeply sorry. News of this nature is never expected nor is it easy to swallow.

What you feel is your wife withdrawing from you might instead be her own grief and fear around your diagnosis manifesting. You’re both now facing a future you weren’t anticipating, but neither of you have to confront it alone. Seeing a couples counselor or a leader in your local church might prove helpful to you and your wife in accepting and moving forward in this new reality. The time you have together is finite and precious; do lean on and love one another.

Wishing you peace and comfort at this most difficult time.

• • •

Dear Annie: I usually agree with your advice but not in the case of “Daughter Difficulty,” the woman who is frustrated living with her partner and his adult children. I would have told this woman to run, not walk, from that situation. First, her partner isn’t divorced yet. Secondly, there are four overgrown kids that likely will be there forever that she cooks for. Her partner has her convinced she is just being “jealous” when she is likely just frustrated. The two adult kids and their partners should be in their own place(s). There is nothing the matter with this woman wanting some attention and alone time with her partner.

He may be a good man who loves his daughter, but he is an enabler. “Daughter Difficulty” should find a nice man who isn’t still legally married and whose grown-up kids don’t live with him.


It seems to be a thing these days for adult kids to either return home or never leave it in the first place. Years down the line, the parent will still be caring for them instead of the other way around. When I turned 18, I couldn’t wait to get out on my own, even though my life was good growing up. There is no work ethic taught today; everything is given and there is no desire to get out of the house and take care of oneself.

-- Free from Freeloaders in VT

Free From Freeloaders: It is becoming increasingly common for children to live with their parents through their early and mid-20s, in part due to rising home prices. That said, the fact that he is housing his children and both their partners could certainly be enabling, not to mention the unclear status of his divorce. Thank you for providing an alternate perspective that this woman might be better off in a different relationship if her current partner is not in a place where he can fully move on.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: