Dear Annie: My husband and I recently turned 60 and celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We both work full time.
Lately, a lovely young woman whom my husband considers “just a friend” has been visiting him at his place of business and calling frequently on his cell phone. She confides in him about her rocky relationship with her boyfriend, cries on his shoulder when things don’t work out and has even had him drive her to various doctor appointments. She has family in town, so I don’t understand her need to involve him so much in her life. She is very needy and a real drama queen, but evidently my husband likes it.
I think this behavior is inappropriate and could lead to something more serious. My husband says he is like a father to her. We have a grown daughter and son, and he never took this much interest in them. Should I be worrying? — Redding, Calif.
Dear Redding: Probably. Your husband has made himself very vulnerable to this young woman, and she is exploiting it. He enjoys being the hero, especially since the heroine is so young and pretty, but this situation is a powder keg. He may believe he has no interest in a more intimate relationship, but it wouldn’t take much for her to convince him otherwise. Tell him to get out of Fantasyland before he does something he deeply regrets.
Dear Annie: I am a nice guy, mid-50s and reasonably handsome. I work hard for my money and by no stretch of the imagination consider myself wealthy. Which brings me to the reason for this letter.
I have been divorced 10 years, and during that time I have been fixed up by friends and met women from dating services. Simply put, I have been hoping to find that special someone. It’s fun to meet women even if we don’t “click.” However, I cannot continue my hunt for love while picking up the tab every time.
You would do your readers (male and female) a service if you would encourage them to share the cost of the first date. Ladies, please show some class and insist on splitting expenses when you meet a guy for lunch, dinner or an evening out.
I’m trying to be honest here, so don’t shoot the messenger. Unless you are a young, hot supermodel, don’t expect a free lunch. Great-looking women can get away with persuading men to part with all their money, but not everyone. I’m old enough to look beyond appearance, but you need to use some common sense. If you have a great sense of humor, are well read and can carry on a stimulating conversation, I would love to meet you. However, I have reached the point that I will not take a chance on a blind date, dropping 30 or 40 bucks on someone I may discover I don’t intend to see again. — Tired of Paying
Dear Tired: We can understand why you don’t want to spring for every first date, and we agree that women should offer to split the bill. It is especially important for women not to give the impression that they are beholden in any way because some men misinterpret a free meal as a down payment on sex. Instead of risking an expensive lunch or dinner, meet for coffee. Even a $7 latte shouldn’t break the bank, and either party can cut the date short without feeling guilty.
Dear Annie: In response to all the suggestions for what to call a man and a woman living together without the benefit of marriage, I’m surprised your readers didn’t offer the following: “shackmates.” The word is derived, of course, from the once popular expression “shacking up.” — California
Dear California: The derivation makes perfect sense, but the word reminds us of two beach bums sharing a hut. In London.
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 5.22.08