Dear Annie: Last month, an old boyfriend contacted me. I hadn’t seen “Bud” in 30 years. We had a wonderful conversation. I visited him at his home. He even sent me a large sum of money to help pay off a mortgage bill. We now talk at least twice a day and always say “I love you.” Bud speaks of a future together, but I told him that I want a commitment before I will sell my place and move to his town 300 miles away.
Here’s the problem: Bud has had a female companion for 20 years. He told me that there is no longer any physical intimacy with “Jane,” but they have a deep friendship.
Bud is now going through some health issues that may prove to be quite serious. He asked Jane to go with him to a coming appointment for tests. I was disappointed that he didn’t first ask me, even though I live out of state. I explained that I want to be there in good times and bad. He says he needs to get through this difficult time and then he will end the relationship with Jane.
If Bud’s health deteriorates, I fear he never will be able to leave her and I will lose this loving man. Worse, he and Jane had arranged a week’s vacation before we reconnected, and he’s still planning to go.
Bud tries to reassure me, but I feel frustrated, depressed and helpless. I don’t want to nag him or push him away. Should I give him a deadline?
Dear P.H.: You have been with Bud for a month. It’s not enough time to know his true motivations. We’ll assume he didn’t break things off with Jane because he wanted to be certain you were interested first, and now he is reluctant to rock the boat because she will be a source of support. As much as you’d like that role, you live too far away to be helpful. You need to step back. Send cards to wish him well, but understand that you are not his girlfriend. Jane is. Let him know that you might be amenable to rekindling your romance if he is ever a free man — but not before.
Dear Annie: I work in an office with five other women. Our customers are primarily men. The problem is, all the other assistants dress provocatively, flirt and laugh loudly at our customers’ lewd jokes. I am not like that, but every time I greet a customer with a smile, the girls say, “You must be in a good mood today,” giving the impression that I’m otherwise a real witch. Co-workers within earshot snort and laugh. This really rankles me, because I am always in a good mood. I just don’t fawn over the guys like the other women do.
This is happening more and more, and I am tired of it. Is there something I can say that will shut them up for good?
Just About Had It
Dear Had It: The co-workers tease you because they are guaranteed a flustered reaction. The best way to put a stop to it: laugh off these comments. That would not only defuse your anger but also minimize their enjoyment.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “A,” the caregiver for her paralyzed mother. My mother also could be verbally abusive. After her doctor recommended putting her in a nursing home, she became worse. One day, my daughter said she wasn’t going to listen to Grandma talk to me that way and dragged me out of the room. After that, whenever mom became abusive, we left. It took three times, and she never did it again.
No one should feel guilty about placing a parent in a nursing home when caregiving becomes impossible. What children should feel guilty about is never going to visit.
Dear Annie: I am writing to help military families who are at home while their spouses are deployed. As a military spouse for 20 years, I am sometimes overwhelmed, exhausted and isolated. Deployments are lengthy. Life is challenging.
We often encounter people who want to thank my husband for his service. I thank them for their support. But if you know of a military spouse who is alone, here are a few suggestions:
» Offer to babysit for free. Older children often miss out on evening events because younger siblings need to be in bed or it’s too difficult to take them all to the event. Offer to drive the children to practices or games and supervise.
» Include their children in your family outings.
» Take a meal to the family. A frozen casserole is a treat on a hectic day. Or treat them to a meal out. Anywhere.
» Offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, check under the hood or take a pet to the vet. Check on them when the weather is extreme. Send their spouse a letter. Call and ask what you can do to help.
Please help the military by helping out military families.
A Soldier’s Spouse Anywhere
Dear Soldier’s Spouse: Thank you for reminding our readers.
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