Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 9:23 pm
Dear Annie: I’m a high-school student. Recently, my uncle “Joe” and I have been hanging out a lot. He gives me rides to school and picks me up from after-school activities. He also takes me to summer programs. He’s a lifesaver because my mother hates to drive me and I’m in a lot of activities.
Anyway, about two months ago, during one of our drives home, Uncle Joe confided that he was seeing another woman. This made me really uncomfortable because my aunt, his wife, is about to give birth to their second child. I tried not to make a big deal out of it and figured he wouldn’t say anything else, but I was wrong. Now he tells me about his dates and that, for a while, he was seeing more than one woman.
I don’t know how to tell Uncle Joe that I don’t want to hear about his relationships. I already feel guilty knowing he lies to my aunt, telling her he’s playing poker with the guys when he’s out with some girlfriend. What should I do? — Too Much Information
Dear TMI: It is highly inappropriate for Uncle Joe to confide in you. Tell him this information puts you in a difficult position and makes you uncomfortable. He should be aware that you may not be able to keep his secrets because you sympathize with your aunt. He needs to understand that you don’t find the bragging about his exploits to be admirable. You might also suggest he work on the problems in his marriage with a professional. You may lose your rides, but you’ll gain some self-respect.
Dear Annie: My wife and I have two grown children who live several hours away. Our problem is with our 31-year-old married daughter.
We live in Florida, and when the kids visit, we go out of our way to stock the refrigerator, serve the foods they like and take them to see the local attractions. However, when we visit our daughter’s house, she never reciprocates. During our last visit, even though we did plenty of baby-sitting, our daughter had no food in the house for us to eat.
She recently said they can’t join us for dinner at a restaurant because they are saving their money. I reminded her that I am retired and on a fixed income. Both she and her husband work and spend a lot of money on magazine subscriptions, TV and other frivolous things.
This relationship seems very one-sided to me. We love our grandson so much it would hurt us to terminate the relationship, but our self-centered daughter and her husband are making it difficult to want to see them. Are we expecting too much? — Sad Grandpa
Dear Grandpa: You’re willing to give up a relationship with your daughter and grandson because they don’t feed you when you visit? She may be self-centered and a bad hostess, but you are taking a very harsh stance. Instead, why not see them less often? Or have your grandson visit without them. Surely if you value the relationship at all, you can find a compromise. The choice is ultimately yours, but please don’t do anything you will come to regret.
Dear Annie: Here’s a suggestion for “No State Sue,” whose husband wanted her to wear a trashy outfit when they went out of town on vacation.
She should purchase similarly ridiculous gear for him — maybe extremely tight, low-riding pants and a very close-fitting sheer shirt unbuttoned halfway, with a big gold chain around his neck. If he is willing to wear his new outfit, she should be willing to wear hers. They may actually discover a new hobby they can participate in together. — Kansas
Dear Kansas: We are so enjoying the thought that some of those trashy-looking folks we encounter on the street may, in fact, be disguised couples on a romantic vacation. Vive l’amour!
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 7.15.08