Dear Annie: My husband and his father call each other nonstop and talk about absolutely nothing. My husband tells his dad what kind of money we make, what we’re doing, if we’re going somewhere, what we are fixing to eat, what we are going to watch on TV, and on and on.
If they can’t reach each other within five attempts, they start to phone everyone in the family. My husband treats me the same way. I have to keep my cell phone on 24 hours a day because if he can’t locate me repeatedly in a 10-minute period, he becomes furious. And it’s invariably because he wanted to tell me a joke or something equally unimportant. On one occasion, I was paying for gasoline and he called 19 times before I got back into my car where I’d left my cell phone.
What’s even more annoying is that my husband and I will make a decision about something, but if his father disagrees, my husband will change his mind and side with Dad.
I am a very private person and don’t want his father knowing my business. What’s wrong with this picture? — Going Nuts in Oklahoma
Dear Oklahoma: You know what’s wrong. Now you have to decide what you are going to do about it. Your husband and his father are so enmeshed that it is unlikely you will separate them, especially if your husband is unwilling to admit it’s necessary. The main problem is not the over-communication. It’s that your husband takes his father’s side over yours. Gentle discussion may help him understand why this is detrimental to your marriage. Counseling would be helpful, but if he won’t go, go without him and find ways to work on his behavior and your reaction, so it becomes less annoying.
Dear Annie: Last fall, I loaned a co-worker two boxed sets of DVDs. For several months, I held off asking for their return because I wanted to give her time to view them. Last week, I finally decided to ask for them back, and she replied that she would look for them.
After a couple of days, I asked if she had found the DVDs yet and she became kind of agitated. She asked if I needed them right away, said she was too busy to look for them right now, and further, that I shouldn’t loan her things because she can’t keep track of them.
I see myself partly at fault because I offered the DVDs even though she didn’t ask to borrow them. That was a mistake since they were put on the backburner.
This person has been a friend and we have to work together, but if she never returns the DVDs, the friendship part will probably be over. Should I chalk this up to experience and forget it, or should I ask one more time? — California
Dear California: We think those DVDs will turn up eventually, probably when she moves into a new apartment. You can ask that she pay you for the loss, but otherwise, all you can do is wait. Remind her every month or so by saying, nicely, “Any luck with those DVDs?” and then consider it an expensive lesson.
Dear Annie: Some months ago, you printed letters from children whose fathers had left their families for another woman. Recently, you printed a letter from “Heartbroken in the South,” whose husband went searching for a one-night stand. She asked, “How can an intelligent, educated man who supposedly loves his wife actually go through with such an unspeakable act?”
I wonder if you have received any letters from men who have committed some of these “unspeakable acts” — and whether they felt justified? I might feel better about my own husband’s abandonment if I understood why he thought it was his only recourse. — DPN
Dear DPN: How about it, men? Want to help her out with your reasoning?
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 6.17.08