Dear Annie: I’ve been married for almost two decades to a good husband. During most of those years, I was obese. I was a stay-at-home mom to our children, depressed and bored, and I ate a lot. The more I ate, the more I wanted to sit at home and hide from the world.
For much of that time, my best friend was my neighbor, a married man who lives next door. He has always been a father figure to me. We never crossed any lines and we never acted inappropriately. He was kind, appreciated me for who I was inside and made me feel comfortable. Everyone accepted our friendship.
I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and lost 150 pounds. I gained confidence and, suddenly, the friendship with my neighbor created problems. When I take out the garbage, my husband accuses me of doing it just to talk to my neighbor. He follows me outside and glares at me continuously. My neighbor’s wife now feels threatened by me. She and her sister are openly rude. Her sister accused me of looking to have an affair.
My neighbor was one of the few people who never judged me on my appearance. Why should it matter that I am thinner? I am not out to steal anyone’s husband. Do I have to give up this friendship? — In the State of Shedding Friends
Dear Shedding Friends: Your husband has become jealous and insecure — which, by the way, is not an uncommon reaction when spouses drastically change their appearance. Your neighbor’s wife now sees you as a threat, whereas before, she absurdly assumed her husband would not find you attractive enough to pursue. You may need to scale back the friendship long enough to give your husband time to be reassured of your love and fidelity. (Your neighbor’s wife is her husband’s problem.)
Dear Annie: My wife’s cousin is getting married soon to a widow. Both are in their mid-60s. We have chosen not to attend the wedding because of our work schedules, driving distances and caring for our 6-month-old baby.
I know the cousin, but have not met his fiancée. She has registered for gifts. I feel that a woman getting married at this stage in life is being just plain rude by registering for ANYTHING. Am I off base? My wife agrees with me but wants to send something anyway. The cousin is a wonderful person and I can see him being submissive in this situation. I say we send a card. — N.N.N.C.
Dear N.N.N.C.: Any person who gets married, at any age, regardless of status, is entitled to the same good wishes, and in many cases, that includes a gift. A registry is simply a way to help guests choose something. Since you are not attending the wedding and haven’t met the bride, you can send a card if you prefer, but it would be equally appropriate to send a small gift (perhaps a picture frame or bottle of champagne) to a cousin of whom you are fond.
Dear Annie: I wanted to comment on the letter from “Pensacola, Fla.,” who wondered what to give his wife for their 25th anniversary.
My wife and I have three great children. Three years ago we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I took 150 family photographs, sorted them chronologically and burned them onto a DVD, along with six of her favorite songs. When I gave it to her wrapped up, she thought it might be jewelry, which she rarely wears. When I put it in the DVD player, the tears flowed. We were watching our history together. Even now, a few years later, we get nostalgic when we watch it, as do our kids. Without a doubt, it’s the best gift I’ve ever given. — A Husband Who Wants to Keep His Wife
Dear Husband: We are truly impressed with the effort you put into making such a special, individualized gift. It’s not only lovely, but it can be shared with generations to come.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. 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 on 12.10.07