Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I own a small business. We both work at other full-time jobs, and we also have three children, so life is hectic and busy.
I am uncomfortable with the intensity of a relationship he is having with one of our employees. “Molly” is a single woman with children. She is a terrific employee, and a large part of our business depends on her. My husband is a good man and has taken her under his wing to help her through a difficult time.
I have expressed concern about their relationship, and he compares it to any good friendship. We are trying to use this situation as a wake-up call to get refocused on our relationship. Yet, I often feel he is placating me. As long as Molly is in the picture, I continue to struggle with my reaction to their “friendship.” I am in counseling, but my husband is a bit dismissive about the process.
Would it be reasonable to talk to Molly and explain my concerns? Perhaps if she knew what was going on, she would set some limits on the situation. To those employees who see themselves in this situation: Please consider how your relationship can affect someone else’s marriage and family. — Sad
Dear Sad: We’re not entirely sure what you are objecting to, other than the fact that Molly is single and works closely with your husband. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything is going on. Does he share with her things that are private issues within your marriage? Does he discuss things with her that he ought to be discussing with you? Does he spend a lot of time with her that isn’t business related? Is he secretive or distant? Does he put her welfare before yours? Is your intimate life suffering? Please discuss these things with your counselor.
Dear Annie: At what point am I supposed to call my uncles by their first names only? I am a 59-year-old male and recently spoke with my “Uncle Bill” on the phone. I referred to him as “Uncle Bill,” and he screamed, “I’m just Bill!”
So now I wonder about all my other relatives. I will soon be hosting a family reunion and don’t want to create a problem. Am I too old to keep on referring to my uncles as uncles?
I talked to my older brother about this, and he hasn’t a clue what to do. I love my relatives and don’t want to hurt their feelings. So what is the correct form of address? — Eagerly Awaiting in California
Dear California: This is entirely a matter of personal choice. Your Uncle Bill obviously wants to be “just Bill,” but your “Aunt Mary” might love that you still use the full title. Many people stop using “Aunt” or “Uncle” when they reach adulthood. Since this has not been the case in your family, please ask each relative for his or her preference. (We suspect most of them won’t care either way.)
Dear Annie: “At the End of Our Rope” described a common problem: having a young adult child who does drugs, still lives at home and doesn’t work.
A friend dealt with this well. When their son was 19, they refused to let him live at home unless he found a job or went back to school and took a drug test once a week. He refused and was ousted, although he was allowed to come home to eat, shower and do laundry.
After a year of sleeping on friends’ couches and in his car, he was arrested for DUI. It took several more months before he finally agreed to the drug testing and found a job. This young man now rides his bike to work, tests clean and is building his life again. — It Can Work
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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 4.24.12