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Dear Ann Landers: When you told your readers some time back that "an inheritance is a gift, not an entitlement," my 75-year-old mother made sure I saw it. She clipped that column and sent it to me in the mail. To put it bluntly, my mother is a very rich woman, but I am so sick and tired of hearing about her money, I could scream.

Every time there is a problem in the family, Mom cuts one of us out of her will. When she cools off, she tells us we are back in. A few months ago, she picked a fight with my husband about some property she owns. It was a matter of little consequence, and I told them they were both being ridiculous. Because I had "belittled" her, she informed me that I should not count on an inheritance. Again, I heard that phrase, "You are out of my will."

My brother has been out of her will since he started to date a woman Mom doesn't like. Frankly, I would be a lot happier if she kept her money and treated us better. My brother has voiced the same sentiment.

Parents who use money as a club to keep their children in line invariably have lousy relationships with their kids, and no amount of money can fix that.

-- Enid, Okla.
Dear Oklahoma: How sad that your mother uses her money to control her children. While I don't subscribe to the theory that the "love of money is the root of all evil," it can be the source of a great many family problems. For one thing, it can kill incentive. Children who know they will inherit a bundle when they are 21 or 25 or 30 sometimes do little to test their own potential. Inheriting money is not nearly as much fun as making it yourself.

Temptation at work

Dear Ann Landers: I have been married for three years. My husband and I must work in different states, but we make sure to see each other at least once a month. He is a sweet person, and we get along well. He phones every night, and in spite of the long periods of separation, I am sure he has never been unfaithful.

The problem is, I've become involved with a man at work. "Brad" knows I'm married (he's single), and we have tried to end our relationship many times, but we can't seem to stay away from each other. I realize part of the problem is the fact that we work together every day, but there is something else. When I am with Brad, I am incredibly happy -- the kind of happiness I expected to experience when I married, but it never happened.

Last week, Brad and I decided to stop seeing each other. I told him I would divorce my husband for him, but Brad said he couldn't live with himself if he broke up my marriage. He wants to say farewell and get on with his life.

I care deeply for my husband, but there is no longer any passion. Should I forget Brad and put more effort into rejuvenating my stale marriage, or should I fight for the great love of my life? Help me, Ann.

-- Agonizing in Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: Stop agonizing and face the facts. The "great love of your life" has told you he wants to get on with his life, and his life does not include you. That's the reality.

Work at rebuilding what you had with your sweet husband, and behave yourself. Passion can be rekindled, and that is the direction your life should take. If there is any possibility you can switch jobs, do it now, before you get into any more trouble. And try to find something closer to home. No salary is worth destroying your marriage.

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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