Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 15 years, and he has worked at the same company for the last five. In all that time, I have never been to his office during working hours. On occasion, I’ve been in the area and have called to see if I should stop by for lunch, but he’s always said no, he is too busy.
Recently I have had some suspicions, so I looked through his cell phone and found several numbers with initials only. I called them and got different women’s voicemails. When I then innocently asked my husband what those initials stood for, he said one was a guy named “Larry” and one was “Chip.” I told him I knew that wasn’t true. Finally, he admitted they were women he worked with and said he didn’t tell me because he knew I’d be upset. These are personal cell phone numbers, by the way, not office numbers.
Maybe I’m just not used to this office co-worker stuff. I mean, I understand talking at work in general, but it seems to me that having their personal cell phone numbers and talking outside the office can lead to other things. What do you think about all this? — Just Wondering
Dear Wondering: We think just like you. Some co-workers need to get in touch with each other at home, but your husband obviously was hiding these phone numbers from you. Combine this with the fact that you are not welcome to visit his office, and it’s clear he doesn’t want you to meet his co-workers. You deserve to know what’s going on. Ask him to come clean or go for counseling.
Dear Annie: Several years ago, I became good friends with “Louise,” with whom I worked. When she married, I attended her wedding. Shortly after, I moved 600 miles away, but we continued to keep in touch. Whenever I visited my sister, who lives near Louise, we would get together at her place. On a couple of occasions, she traveled to see me when her kids were small. I saw her children grow up through our visits and photos.
We always had a good time whenever we were together. However, three years ago, we met for lunch, and I haven’t heard from her since. I have sent Christmas cards and a letter, and still nothing. I know she hasn’t moved away because my letters have not been returned. I really thought we’d be friends for life. Why would someone simply end a 30-year friendship for no reason? — Totally Baffled in Canada
Dear Canada: Friendships don’t always last a lifetime, especially over a long distance. Life gets busy, and it’s possible Louise simply became caught up in her own family and let the friendship lapse to the point where it was easier to let it go altogether. It’s also possible Louise was ill and could not respond to your letters. Ask your sister or a mutual friend to find out if Louise is OK, and then write again and give the friendship one more chance. If she still doesn’t respond, she isn’t interested.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Horrified in the Midwest,” the young woman who is the victim of nasty rumors that she is having affairs with every man she smiles at. It shows the terrible problems gossip can cause.
Your readers should be aware that every state has civil laws against defamation. If someone says or writes something untrue about you and causes you harm, you can sue. You might have suggested to the young woman that she contact a lawyer. A letter from a lawyer to the person spreading lies often can solve the problem. — Vermont
Dear Vermont: Anyone is free to file a lawsuit, and we agree that often the threat is sufficient to get someone to back off. However, such accusations are difficult to prove in a court of law and we are in no hurry to tell people to sue one another. But thanks for the suggestion.
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, 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 11.13.07