Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: How can a 62-year-old woman be so confused at this stage of life? My domestic partner and I have been together 12 years, and our relationship has recently become shaky.
“Jack” is very outgoing. Men and women are attracted to him for his conversation and wit. One of our neighbors is almost 10 years younger than I am and is showing an interest in him. She often pops into our home for a visit — but only to see Jack. She does not talk to me at all.
Jack and I have always trusted each other, but I didn’t care for this budding friendship. A gut feeling told me to look at his e-mail, and I found one message where he invited her to our home, saying “we” love her company. I certainly don’t love it.
I told Jack I read his e-mail and asked why he invited her. He said, “It was stupid.” Not the most reassuring answer. Do you think he wants to be involved with her? — Unsure and Worried
Dear Unsure: We think he likes the attention, but it doesn’t mean things will go any further. Some men are highly susceptible to flattery, and women who flirt with them feed their ego. Talk to Jack and ask him to stop encouraging this woman. Then, instead of being insecure about his fidelity, use this as an impetus to kick some fresh life into your relationship. There’s no reason you can’t flirt with Jack and give him a little extra affection. All relationships benefit when one remembers how to make the other person feel important.
Dear Annie: A woman I know works at my former doctor’s clinic in a low-level position. A friend recently told me this woman repeats everything that is in the medical records. It’s true, because family and friends have commented about my “confidential” health issues, some of which date back 40 years.
Even though I complained to my doctor about “Gossip Girl’s” breaches of confidentiality, she is still working in the clinic and still ruining lives by blabbing about everyone. Since then, I have changed clinics. But why would a clinic not protect the medical confidentiality of their patients? — Cannot Take Back the Spoken Word
Dear Cannot: Maybe the woman is well-connected or your complaints didn’t go far enough up the chain of command. But that clinic is leaving itself open to a lawsuit if the blabbermouth keeps leaking confidential medical information. Make sure the doctor knows exactly why you left. You also can file a complaint with your state licensing board. (You can find a list through the American Medical Association at ama-assn.org.)
Dear Annie: “Depressed and Overwhelmed” is in one of those Catch-22 situations — depressed, isolated, struggling to maintain a career at a time when employers look for any excuse to fire someone older. She’s not making enough money to pay for top-notch mental health care, but too much to qualify for free care.
She may also have some other conditions that are contributing to her depression. For instance, I found out late in life that I have adult ADHD. Once that was treated, my intermittent depression became far easier to deal with. Other medical conditions such as low thyroid or chronic fatigue can also contribute to depression.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective, and it can be administered in a group setting that significantly reduces the cost. She should also actively deal with her isolation by doing volunteer work and getting involved in community activities. She may have to drag herself to these things, but it’s well worth it. — Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt
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 11.17.09