Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 8:03 pm
Dear Annie: My husband, “Harry,” and I have been married for 32 years. Recently, he lost his job because of disability. I work two jobs to support the family.
Six months ago, Harry suggested we sell our house and move to his old hometown two hours away. I refused because of my jobs and our children, who live near us. Harry says he spends too much time alone while I work. He also doesn’t like that I have the grandchildren over, saying I care more for them (and my job) than I do for him.
I know he feels bad because he cannot work, and I have tried to find him hobbies. He has been visiting his hometown twice a week. At first, I thought he had someone else on the side, but he says he just likes to be there. It’s comfortable. Now he says he is going to move to his hometown without me. He told me he still wants to “date” and stay in our home once a week so he can see the grandchildren and work on our marriage.
I am confused. It seems Harry isn’t sure he’s still in love with me. Now I will have to find a third job just to make the house payment. I am so hurt and angry. What should I do? — Nervous Nellie
Dear Nellie: We think Harry is depressed and adrift. His hometown provides a soothing cocoon and a reminder of better times. Right now, you need to consider your own welfare. We recommend you talk to an attorney to make sure you are protected. You may need to sell the house and move into a smaller, more affordable place. Decide whether you wish to “date” Harry, relocate to his hometown or divorce him. Some short-term counseling could help with these decisions, and although it would be useful for Harry to go with you, if he refuses, please go without him.
Dear Annie: I share a job with “Joan,” my co-worker. We each know what tasks have to be done, and together, we are responsible for making sure everything gets done. Frequently, when Joan is off doing one thing, I will start on another. I am not the type to sit around doing nothing until she is free to start the next task.
When she returns, she invariably says, “I can help with that,” in a tone that conveys the message that I shouldn’t have started without her. I never know how to respond. I’ve said, “Sure,” but what I really want to say is, “You don’t need an invitation.” However, I don’t think that would go over well.
Today, a phone call needed to be made. Joan sent me a note asking about it, and I took care of it. She then confronted me, saying she would have done it herself but I “took over.” She has been doing this job longer than I have, so why does she seem so insecure? What can I do when this happens again? — Diana in Detroit
Dear Diana: Some people need constant reassurance that they are valued. You don’t have to cater to Joan’s insecurity, but it helps to get along with co-workers. Tell her you aren’t trying to “take over” and that you simply want to get the job done and divide the work so neither of you is overextended. Inform her before making a phone call to ensure you aren’t repeating something she has already done. Periodically ask her opinion. Reassure her that the office would collapse without her. It requires little effort for you to give her the impression that she is important. Ignore the rest.
Dear Annie: I chuckled while reading the letter from “Stressed Out by Picky Eaters,” whose family members drive her crazy with their food preferences. It brought back memories of an old friend who had a sign in her kitchen: “You have two choices for dinner: Take it or leave it!” — That Works in My House, Too
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 10.27.11