Dear Annie: I am a happily married man, with a beautiful and loving spouse. The problem is, I find myself extremely attracted to a co-worker. Although “Connie” and I work in different departments, we often work together on various projects, so I see her frequently. I try to limit contact as much as possible, but occasionally I’m forced to interact with her. This is very difficult because, after talking with her, I find it impossible to get her out of my mind for days on end.
I have never laid a hand on Connie, nor do I intend to, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have the slightest clue about my attraction. I had hoped these feelings would go away over time, but it’s been almost three years. I fear they will never subside as long as I keep seeing her. I don’t like feeling this way. Short of finding another job, how do I deal with this situation? — Worried at Work
Dear Worried: Workplace crushes are not uncommon, and we’re glad you understand the importance of keeping your impulses under control. Remember that you are seeing Connie at her best, and this skews your opinion of her. (It might help to imagine her with odd things growing out of her head.) Still, if your infatuation undermines your marriage, it may be in your best interest to look for another job or transfer to a department where contact with Connie is minimal.
Dear Annie: I have been dating “Lewis” for 10 years. Recently, we have discussed marriage, sort of. He doesn’t come right out and tell me he wants to get married, but he hints at it. He says, “You could start planning the details of how you want it to be.” But when I say something about preferences and ask what he thinks, the tune changes and the subject is closed.
I know Lewis loves me. We have two beautiful children together. But this teasing conversation is making me insane. Lewis says a piece of paper won’t change a thing because it’s like we’re already married. We live together, have children, pay bills, stuff like that. So why do I long for that legal commitment? Why am I considering ending the relationship if he won’t marry me? — Confused and Sad in Virginia
Dear Virginia: You have been waiting for marriage and are unhappy that it’s not happening. It makes you question Lewis’ love and commitment. In many states, living together constitutes common-law marriage, but not in Virginia. That “piece of paper” can protect you and your children in case of separation or death, and offer benefits available only to legally married couples. You ask why you want that piece of paper. We ask why he doesn’t. If Lewis is willing to let you plan a wedding, we think you should stop asking for his opinion on the details and just make the arrangements. He may be more willing than you think.
Dear Annie: I am surprised at the amount of personal information we give to others without knowing it. I am talking about people who have those cute figures on their cars — a dad, mom, kids and pets, with “The Smiths” underneath, along with the names of each figure. This strikes me as unsafe. We’ve been told not to put our child’s name on his backpack because a stranger might approach and appear to know him, but we park our cars in our driveways with even more personal information. What would stop a pedophile from approaching your child and saying, “Hi, Mary! How is your sister Sally?”
Please alert your readers not to put any personal information out for all to view. — Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
Dear Lake Arrowhead: It’s truly a shame that such drastic restrictions are necessary, but with small children so vulnerable, parents need to be vigilant. Thanks for the alert.
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 on 10.17.07