Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 12:08 am
Dear Annie: A year ago, my 73-year-old sister, “Jenny,” married a man she barely knew. He had been married three times before, and she was aware that he had problems. Being a nurturing person, she thought she could help him.
They live off of his Social Security and my sister’s pension checks. They are now buying a house, and her husband has some medical expenses, so things are tight. In addition, Jenny cannot sleep with him because he has apnea and won’t do anything about it. He also has an anger problem and has yelled at Jenny a couple of times. He has a sexual addiction and has made passes at three people I know of, including Jenny’s granddaughter. We haven’t told Jenny about that, but her children are encouraging their mother to leave this man.
Jenny is diabetic and has some short-term memory loss. We are concerned about her future. Her husband shows signs of wanting to isolate her from her family and friends. She told me she would like to get out of this marriage, but he has attempted suicide in the past, and she feels responsible for his safety.
Should we tell Jenny about his infidelities? We don’t really see much hope in his changing. — Worried Sister in Memphis
Dear Memphis: We doubt Jenny will believe your accusations or do anything about them. Instead, help her understand that she is not responsible for another person’s mental health, only her own. However, she may be unwilling to leave him, regardless of his faults, because she doesn’t want to be alone. Right now, the situation seems unpleasant, but not threatening. Jenny needs her family close by to keep an eye on things and intercede if the relationship deteriorates.
Dear Annie: I am a 16-year-old girl and a junior in high school. I get great grades and am athletic and friendly. I have a lot of guy friends. They are funny and relaxed and don’t gossip as much as the girls.
The problem is, I am large-breasted, and a lot of the guys think that when I’m being nice, I’m somehow flirting. I don’t want to say, “I’m not interested in you,” because it sounds offensive. But I hate feeling I have to hang out with guys when I know their intentions, and I end up miserable waiting for them to make a move, knowing I’ll have to shut them down.
Lately, when a guy asks me to hang out with him, I claim to be busy. How do I make it obvious that I’m not interested? I don’t flirt. I don’t wear low-cut shirts or draw attention to myself that way. What do I do? — Lost for Words in Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: High school is a testing ground for relationships, so consider this good practice. When guys are attracted to you, it helps to decide which ones are worth your time and how to gracefully extricate yourself from the others. It is generally safer to hang out in groups of both males and females. If you don’t wish to spend time with a particular guy, it’s OK to say you are busy or, “Thanks, but no.” And it is not offensive to tell a persistent suitor that you just want to be friends — please don’t be afraid to say so.
Dear Annie: I’d like to respond to “Alice’s Friend,” who said there are a lot of complainers in Alice’s senior residential community.
I live in a very nice home for independent and assisted living. I have been here eight years, and I have “friends” who have been here even longer. Two of them I avoid eating with because one complains and the other is so hard of hearing that conversation is tiresome.
If Alice sits at the same table every meal, she should ask to be moved. Better yet, she should ask management if she can sit anywhere she wants, which is the way it is here now. — Happy Senior
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 8.2.11