Posted: Monday, September 28, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: After being a widow for four years, I recently became engaged to “Dennis,” a wonderful man who lost his wife two years ago. They had been married 42 years.
Recently, Dennis and I had a big argument over his profile still being on several singles websites. He claims I’m being paranoid by asking him to remove it. He says all e-mails from these sites go into his spam file and he deletes them. If that’s true, how come his profile says “active within the last seven days”? He also told me he doesn’t know how to delete his profile.
My intuition tells me he is not ready for a commitment. I feel like a temporary stop until something better comes along. I do love this man, and he claims to love me. I have expressed my feelings on this matter several times, and he always turns the subject around. This is a matter of trust. Am I wrong? — Confused in Freedom
Dear Confused: No. It sounds as if Dennis is trying to pull the wool over your eyes to the fact that he is still out there looking. Call his bluff. Tell him if he is serious about a relationship with you, he must remove his profile from these sites within 24 hours. Then offer to delete his profile for him if he “doesn’t know how.” If he gives you a hard time, we urge you to call off the engagement. He’s not ready, and you will only be hurt.
Dear Annie: My husband’s sister came from the East Coast to visit us for three days. She was the perfect guest. She brought lovely hostess gifts, took us out to dinner and was off again before we knew it.
After she left, I went into the guest room to gather the bedding to launder and found a brief note thanking us for “everything.” Included in the note was some cash. I was surprised and offended. About 10 years ago, my sister-in-law did the same thing, and I asked her to please never do that again, as her company and hostess gifts were more than appreciated.
Though I’ve known this woman for 57 years and do not believe she intended anything unkind in her gift, it upset me quite a bit. Am I being too sensitive? I am about to return the money with a note admonishing her. Please advise. — Stewing in the West
Dear Stewing: Since your sister-in-law didn’t mean anything unkind, please don’t admonish her. Instead, return her money with a sweet note, telling her how much you enjoyed her visit and what a perfect guest she was. (If she sends it back, donate the money to charity in her name.)
Dear Annie: Your advice to “Unsure Daughter” was right on target. She has been estranged from her alcoholic father for five years, and has now received the message that Dad is dying and wants to make amends. As you said, “You will grieve for your father one way or the other, so you may as well give him the opportunity to atone.”
Not only will she feel better before her father passes, she will be far less likely to suffer a severe and protracted period of depression after her father’s death. Those survivors who are left with unresolved conflict with, and anger toward, a deceased relative are at high risk of depression. It is normal and unavoidable to experience a period of sadness and mourning after the loss of a parent, even an estranged one. That sadness eases with time and differs greatly from the experience of those who fail to come to peace with their dying relative. — Experienced It
Dear Experienced: Thank you for expressing it so well.
Dear Readers: Today is Family Day (casafamilyday.org). Studies show that children who eat dinner with their parents have a reduced risk of substance abuse. Please try to make meals a family event.
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 9.28.09