Dear Annie: My girlfriend and I have been together for three years. When we first started dating, “Mary” unexpectedly became pregnant and we now have a beautiful child who is our life’s joy.
I would like to ask Mary to become my wife. Here’s the problem: Money is pretty tight with a toddler, so buying an expensive engagement ring will be difficult. Is cubic zirconium worth looking into? I thought I’d get a nice-looking CZ ring and, when things settle down, maybe replace it with a real diamond.
My initial thought is to be upfront with Mary and tell her. Do you think that’s a good idea? We have a joint checking account, so she’ll know all about my purchases. Is there a good way to mask how much the ring costs? — Perplexed in the Midwest
Dear Perplexed: Don’t lie to Mary about the value of the ring. Women can be very understanding about not getting a diamond, but they don’t like being fooled. And if you are serious about replacing the ring later, it doesn’t matter what the original is made from. As for hiding the cost, you can put aside small amounts of cash until you have enough to purchase the ring and Mary will never know what you paid for it. P.S.: Best wishes on your upcoming engagement.
Dear Annie: I am writing on behalf of my elderly mother. For over 50 years, Mom put up with a husband who smoked, even though she doesn’t smoke and never did. My father died six years ago, but my sister and brother continue to smoke in her house.
My siblings visit Mom on a daily basis and they feel it’s quite OK to light up one cigarette after another. I know my mother doesn’t care for the smoke or the stink it leaves long after my brother and sister leave, but she doesn’t want to say anything for fear they will stop visiting. My mother is very lonely and won’t take the chance of losing their company. What can I do? — Lost in the Smoke
Dear Lost: You might tell your siblings that Mom’s health is compromised by the secondhand smoke and it would be considerate of them to smoke outside when they visit. However, we suspect if they ask Mom directly, she will say it doesn’t bother her. If that’s the case, there’s not much you can do. Buy her a fan, an air purifier, some smokeless ashtrays and a room deodorizer.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Craving Intimacy in Indiana,” whose husband isn’t interested in sex. I also read the responses. I am a 39-year-old male and have gone five years without intimate contact with my wife. Every time I bring up the subject, I get the same old excuses of being too tired, too sick or too exhausted. She blames her lack of interest on her job and the kids.
I don’t try to force her or shame her into sex because it wouldn’t be any fun if she went along when she was not really interested. I can understand her being tired, but five years is way beyond normal. It makes me feel unneeded and undesired.
I still find my wife attractive and sexy and tell her so, but it falls on deaf ears. I crave to be loved by my wife and to return my love to her. I should probably try counseling, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to do that; plus, my wife would not agree to go. “Craving’s” letter let me know there are others sharing the same boat. — Craving Intimacy in Pennsylvania
Dear Craving: Show this letter to your wife and tell her you wrote it. Maybe if she sees it in black and white, she will consider speaking to her doctor or going with you for counseling. She needs to understand how much this is hurting you.
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 3.3.08