Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My wife of 27 years hugs and kisses everyone she meets, no matter how often she sees them. I have spoken to her about this, stating that not everyone is comfortable being hugged and kissed all the time.
My real problem is that we have a male friend who is also our tenant. “Ralph” is a huge flirt. Worse, he tells me all the time how sexy my wife is and how lucky I am to be married to her. Because Ralph lives in our building, we see him several times a week. He and my wife hug and kiss each time they say hello and goodbye. Their greeting seems a little different from the others.
I have spoken to my wife, letting her know it makes me uncomfortable, but she doesn’t seem to care. She says to “grow up and deal with it.” I do not want to argue, but I also don’t want to be uncomfortable every time we see Ralph. How can I get my point across without causing a war? — Tired of Hugging
Dear Tired: You can ignore it and assume her hugging and kissing is only that or, if she is flirting with Ralph, that she doesn’t intend to do anything more about it. She probably enjoys seeing you react with such jealousy. You could behave the same way, but we don’t believe that would help. Instead, ask her to explain why she continues to deliberately make you uncomfortable and unhappy.
Dear Annie: My step-granddaughter, who is almost 11 years old, never calls her grandfather or me unless told to. “Bridget” is an only child of divorce. She has not seen her mother in four years. The girl and her father are presently living with my husband’s ex-wife in another city.
I love this child like she was my own granddaughter and tell her so often. Since she was born, she has been indulged by all of us. Bridget visits twice a year, and we buy her school clothes and other necessities, as well as many gifts. However, when she is not at our home, we rarely hear from her. We never receive thank-you notes or cards on Mother’s or Father’s Day, birthdays or Christmas. We even bought her thank-you notes with return address labels and stamps, but we’ve yet to receive one.
Bridget has called only once since she last visited us several months ago, and that was only because her father insisted. (He wanted to borrow money.) When we tried to converse with her, she gave yes or no answers, and it was apparent that she didn’t care to speak to either of us.
I would like to skip future presents and explain to Bridget that relationships are give and take, and that if she doesn’t think enough of us to call now and then, the gift giving is over. What do you say? — Taken for Granted
Dear Taken: Your expectations are wildly out of line. The girl is 11 years old and hasn’t been taught these things. Few children that age know how to conduct a phone conversation with adults, and none would think to purchase, address and mail a greeting card without the assistance of an adult. (And there’s no reason for her to send you Mother’s Day or Father’s Day cards.) It’s also possible your husband’s ex-wife is discouraging closer communication. It is inappropriate for you to determine the relationship between your husband and his granddaughter. Instead of punishing the child, teach her that showing consideration for others is important for her development as a thoughtful young person.
Dear Annie: As a former overweight person, I can tell “Want to Love Him” that nagging his father about his weight won’t do any good. Nagging only made me more stubborn.
My immediate family said nothing about my weight. After seeing some family photos that were not flattering, I made the effort to take off 50 pounds and kept them off for 10 years. This past year, I dropped another 30. — Ready On My Own
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 11.19.09