Dear Annie: My parents were married 50 years when Mom died of cancer two years ago. After that, Dad, who rarely drank, started going to bars on a regular basis. He seemed to fall in love with every woman he picked up. He actually proposed to several after dating them only once or twice.
Dad is approaching 80, is fairly healthy and well off financially. The problem is, he is deeply involved with one of those bar ladies who is about 20 years his junior. “Rhoda” is extremely rude, overbearing and not a nice person to be around. She is also going through his money like it’s going out of style, and we are all concerned that at some point he won’t have enough to care for himself. We have no doubt once the money’s gone, Rhoda will be, too.
Rhoda has convinced Dad that his children are after his savings. The truth is, we are all doing quite well and don’t need or want a nickel. She has caused an estrangement between Dad and most of his closest friends as well as a great many family members. He is just not the same person. Dad has openly admitted that Rhoda has very few redeeming qualities, but he can’t bring himself to get out from under her spell.
I want Dad to be happy and would love for him to meet a really nice woman who would treat him right. He’s so defensive about his relationship with Rhoda that talking doesn’t do much good. Each day we find ourselves farther apart. Where do we go from here? — Heartbroken Daughter
Dear Heartbroken: Dad is lonely and susceptible to any woman who makes him feel desirable, but if he’s mentally competent, there isn’t much you can do. He is quite willing to let Rhoda take advantage of him. You need to keep a close eye on the situation in order to protect him. Suggest Dad see a lawyer so Rhoda cannot get her hands on money he will need to live on. Then be nice to Rhoda. Invite her over. If she doesn’t see you as a threat, she will not isolate Dad and it will give him time to reassess the situation.
Dear Annie: In today’s obituaries, I saw a first. A 3-year-old died and the family was asking for donations to her sister’s education fund. I am shocked. What do you think? — Appalled in the Midwest
Dear Appalled: This is inappropriate, but unfortunately, not uncommon these days. If the family is struggling financially, it is a kindness to make a donation that will help them out, and in other instances, people want to make a charitable contribution and like to know which charity would be appreciated. The type of personal grab you mention, however, takes advantage of everyone’s sympathy. Still, the loss of a child is a terrible thing and we aren’t going to judge them too harshly.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to the gentleman who wanted to know if all available women are drinking, drugging miscreants. The answer is NO.
I have registered with two online dating sites. I don’t claim to be Barbie or Suzie Homemaker, but I’m also not looking for Tarzan, Ward Cleaver or Daddy Warbucks. I am happy, honest, hard-working, loyal and intelligent. But when men learn that I am slightly overweight, they disappear.
It seems the type of woman who is chosen by most available men is the type you have described. The quiet, decent women who volunteer at local schools or visit libraries are not splashy enough to garner another glance. If you are truly looking for a decent woman, ask your friends. There are still a few true ladies around if you will look for them. — All Ways a Lady
Dear All Ways: Meeting someone through friends is often the best way, since online relationships can be misleading, but we hope any guy who is serious about finding a decent woman will look beyond the superficial.
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 12.14.07