Dear Annie: I have been dating “Siena” for five months and I care deeply about her, but she has an ex-husband, “Kevin,” and they are close. He has a key to her house and comes and goes when he wants. Siena cannot have a conversation without mentioning him. Both of them talk quite openly about special moments in their marriage. It’s difficult to listen to.
Siena is in the process of fixing up a house she recently bought. Kevin has been involved since the beginning, assisting in the remodeling efforts. When he talks about the house, he uses “we,” as in “we did this” or “we need to fix that.” It comes across as “their” house. I have been trying to help her as much as possible, hoping she will depend more on me and less on him. I am extremely uncomfortable with him around. It’s like they’re still married without the romance.
I know Siena loves me, but she doesn’t understand my frustration. For the last few weeks, I have had problems with insomnia, mostly because of this issue. I don’t want to lose her, but I’m not sure how much longer I can tolerate the time around Kevin. I don’t want to share her with him. — Three’s a Crowd
Dear Three’s a Crowd: Siena has not quite divorced herself from Kevin, but as long as there are no romantic sparks between them, you probably don’t need to worry. She seems to be treating him like a brother of whom she is fond. Put your antenna up and discern whether Kevin has ulterior motives for being around Siena. Does he want her back? Does he flirt with her? Does he gaze longingly in her direction? If so, you need to convince Siena that she is hurting Kevin by making him believe she is still interested. If not, consider “adopting” Kevin. It not only could allay your fears, but also generate a friendship. And try to fix him up with some eligible females.
Dear Annie: Can you please advise your readers of a source to determine whether a charity is worthy? We are inundated with requests for donations for causes that are obviously good, but how can we differentiate among those we can trust to accomplish the most with our money? Thanks. — Want To Help the Right People
Dear Want to Help: Thank you for asking. To find out if a charity has a good record and is worth your investment, contact: The American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org), P.O. Box 578460, Chicago, IL 60657-8460; Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org), 1200 MacArthur Blvd., Second Floor, Mahwah, NJ 07430; GuideStar (guidestar.org), 4801 Courthouse St., Suite 220, Williamsburg, VA 23188; and The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (give.org). Call your local BBB office or write The Council of Better Business Bureaus, 4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203-1838.
Dear Annie: Dr. Kochkin is correct in his description of signs of hearing loss and the advances in hearing aids. Unfortunately, one crucial thing was left out. Hearing aids are not covered by health insurance.
My insurance was happy to pay for an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) and an audiologist to diagnose my hearing loss, but not one cent toward the hearing aids at $1,500 apiece. I was in the process of saving for them when my daughter became critically ill, and now I have to start over. Meanwhile, I try to sit up front in church, at the theater and at movies. I also look directly at people’s faces when I speak to them so I can lip-read.
I don’t understand this gap. Glasses, wheelchairs, prosthetics, even corrective surgery are at least partially covered. Why not cover something critical to communication and safety? — Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: We agree. As the baby boomers enter their later years, the need for affordable hearing aids will become overwhelming, especially if they want to hear the Rolling Stones at 70.
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 5.15.08