Dear Annie: My sister won dancing lessons for two. Her husband couldn’t go because of his work schedule, so she asked me. I agreed and asked my husband if he’d like to take the classes along with us, but he wasn’t interested.
Sis and I really enjoyed the lessons. Since we weren’t a couple, we were paired with different men who didn’t have regular partners. I danced several times with “Joe” and we made a good team. Another session is scheduled to begin, and Joe wants me to sign up as his partner so we can enter competitions at local studios.
Here’s the problem: My sister isn’t able to attend the next session because she is helping her daughter for a few weeks. My husband is adamantly opposed to my staying in the class with Joe now that my sister won’t be there.
I explained that all the lessons and competitions are held in studios with several other people present and it won’t be any different than the lessons I’ve been taking all along. I told my husband he could come and watch, but anything that doesn’t include a football doesn’t interest him.
I am a 46-year-old grandmother of two. Joe is 12 years younger and in a relationship with someone. I’ve offered to introduce my husband to Joe, but he says no. At first I was upset because I enjoy the dancing so much. Now I am furious that my husband doesn’t trust me. Should I go ahead with the lessons anyway or sit at home in front of the TV with my mate? — Ready to Dance With the Stars
Dear Ready: It’s unfair of your husband to object when he won’t take the time to attend a lesson or meet Joe. Are you justified to continue? Sure, if you don’t mind making Hubby jealous and think you don’t respect his wishes. Or you can simply wait until your sister is available to rejoin the sessions. It might help to put your dancing shoe on the other foot and ask yourself how you’d feel if he danced exclusively with another woman. Then make up your own mind.
Dear Annie: I am 17 years old and my brother is two years older. When he started dating “Kim,” everything was fine, but as I got to know her better, it became clear that she is just using my brother. I asked my mom what I should do and she said I should keep my mouth shut.
Well, my brother asked to borrow money so I lent him some. Then I found out he was using the money to take Kim out. She knows he doesn’t have the funds to take her out every night, but she always insists they go somewhere.
Yesterday, my brother yelled at me because I left a message with my opinion of her on Kim’s answering machine. What should I do if he doesn’t listen to reason? — Confused
Dear Confused: You mean well, but you have to stop interfering. As hard as it is to watch your brother make a mistake, this isn’t your business and he will resent and reject whatever you suggest. Don’t lend him any more money, but otherwise, your mother is right. Say nothing. You won’t win.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Abandoned and Angry,” whose mother seems to have some serious mental and physical problems. There may be ways to compel Mom to see a doctor.
I am a retired Adult Protective Services social worker. If the daughter goes to APS, a social worker will visit Mom and ask to take her to a doctor. You’d be surprised how often people will refuse help from family but will go with a total stranger. Even if she won’t go, the social worker will have had an opportunity to assess the situation and initiate further action. The advantage of this approach is that Mom would direct her anger at the social worker and the family relationships would not be further damaged. — Retired Social Worker
Dear Social Worker: Thanks for the sound advice. We are sure it will help many others in the same situation.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.21.08