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Annie's Mailbox, November 5

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Dear Annie: My husband is an amazing man. He is selfless and has uncompromising integrity. He is well-known and well-respected in our small community. I am proud to be his wife.

I am 19 years my husband's junior, and this, along with his well-deserved reputation, casts a huge shadow over me. I understand some of this can't be helped, but why must people treat me as though I am some kind of accessory? I am a fairly intelligent woman, and although I am attractive, I don't present myself as a bimbo. The real problem, however, is that my husband not only doesn't seem to notice or care when his "fans" treat me rudely, it's almost as if he goes out of his way to be extra nice to these very same people.

I have accused him of building his ego by making me feel inferior. Am I crazy? He claims I am overreacting. His own brother said to me, "You were a nobody until you married my brother." How do you think my husband should react to these situations? — Mrs. Nobody

Dear Mrs.: He should make it clear that he is also proud of his wife. There is often an assumption when Mr. Big Shot marries a much younger woman that she is simply a trophy wife. Your husband either agrees or likes to give that impression. Women in these marriages have to work quite hard to establish an independent identity. People don't know you. So get on the boards of some charitable foundations. Volunteer at your church. Start a literacy program or a food drive. If you want to develop a reputation as a smart, capable woman, you must do something to promote it instead of relying on your unsupportive husband to do it for you.

Dear Annie: Why is it that whenever my husband and I have a get-together at our home, hardly anyone shows up?

Tonight we contacted several friends to come over for drinks and to listen to music and kick back. Absolutely no one showed up. This is not unusual.

It doesn't matter whether it's a planned event or a last-minute thing, the turnout is minimal or nonexistent. Yet, if someone else has a get-together, there are people everywhere. I don't get it. We're fun people. We have a comfy home and many friends, so I thought. And when people do come, we all have a blast.

By the way, this goes for our families, too. My oldest son just graduated high school and is the first in either family to attend college. I went all out for his open house and even reminded everyone to come. Once again, hardly anyone showed up. Not only was I disappointed, my son was crushed. Life should be filled with family and friends. Why is this happening? — Indiana

Dear Indiana: We have no idea. You could be issuing unclear invitations or having so many get-togethers that people feel they've been there before and can afford to miss some. Invite fewer people less often and see if your invitations become more valued. As for your family, we suggest asking them point-blank what's going on and telling them how disappointed you and your son were that they didn't bother to celebrate his graduation. An honest explanation would be helpful.

Dear Annie: Every year you print a letter from someone complaining about glowing Christmas newsletters. Tell people to read between the lines.

I didn't put in the newsletter that my son dropped out of school and spent time in the hospital for depression. I also left out the years when I considered divorce and the time my other son was arrested for possession of marijuana. I'd rather sift through the events of the year in order to bring to light the few blessings that did occur. — Focusing on the Blessings

Dear Blessings: That is a lovely idea for others to keep in mind, but it is also important that these newsletters not become brag sheets regardless of the reason.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, 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.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM



Comments

9 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - Maybe I am too cynical, but I think that the best way to establish yourself as an independent woman is not necessarily to do a whole bunch of volunteer work because you need to fill your time. Volunteer work is admirable and deserves enormous praise. However, historically, wives of prominent men started literacy programs and food drives, held fundraisers to help one cause or another, and generally engaged in a lot of philanthropy. Yet, they were still perceived as being inferior to their husbands, who did "real" work. I think the perception still exists and shows no signs of disappearing. I would suggest that if LW1 wants to be treated as an intelligent and independent woman, she could put time into establishing her own career independent of her husband and excelling in it. That way, she will be respected in her own right, if not by her husband and his family, then by her own colleagues, business partners, or clients. Volunteer work for charities can go along with that as well.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Ariana
Wed Nov 4, 2009 9:31 PM
To the lady who complained because people are complaining about Christmas newsletters: did she ever stop to think that other people had crappy years and really don't want to hear about someone else's "blessings"? Even if the newsletter writer did edit out all of his/her grief, the reader doesn't know that. I don't believe in newsletters. If you are so close with people, they already knw what happened in your life. If you don't speak to others, a newsletter isn't keeping them in your life. It's time to let go...
Comment: #2
Posted by: Valerie
Thu Nov 5, 2009 6:07 AM
For the lady whose entertains fruitlessly - what's the housekeeping standards at that house? There has to be a solid reason nobody is willing to come to that house, and if the people like her and her family, but never show up there, housekeeping may be the reason. I don't insist on spotless perfection (lived with that and really didn't like the burden!) but some hygiene and tidiness is vital, and possibly the LW falls short of a minimal standard. She sounds perfectly rational in her letter, so maybe it's time to hunt up a brutally honest good friend and ask.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Melinda
Thu Nov 5, 2009 6:32 AM
Valerie and Melinda, you both said it perfectly with respect to each letter.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Ariana
Thu Nov 5, 2009 7:27 AM
Why do these women start off their letters with how their husband, boyfriend, maaaayun, is wonderful but ends up being an a--hole?
Comment: #5
Posted by: Miss Sashay
Thu Nov 5, 2009 12:38 PM
Miss Sashay, it happens with fathers too. Someone will start off by saying how what a wonderful father her husband is, and then tell a story that would horrify any sensible person.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Ari
Thu Nov 5, 2009 2:15 PM
Re: Christmas Letters, an entirely different perspective. I have a file marked Mom's Christmas Letters, the first one dated 1963. We dressed my Barbie as an Angel for the tree; Mom sent fudge to my brother in service; my other brother had a new baby. Then there is the sad but brave letter she wrote in 1972, after Dad died, and a happy upbeat one in 1979 with her new husband, an old boyfriend from her youth. Prosaic stuff becomes a family history in annual installments, a reminder of events and people who might otherwise slip out of memory. I helped her edit in later years, to avoid TMI about health issues, etc., but the collection itself is priceless.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Donna
Thu Nov 5, 2009 3:49 PM
It seems to me like social networking sites like Facebook have just about rendered the annual Christmas letter obsolete anyway.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Matt
Thu Nov 5, 2009 11:22 PM
LW1: So he's amazing and she is crazy. How does that happen? I'm unpersuaded that he is really as amazing as all that. And if the trophy wife perception is one she is tired of, then the last thing she should do is get herself entwined in a lot of rich person "volunteer" work. If she doesn't need a job, then perhaps a degree program to cultivate her intellect is a thought. She should do something that is her own and stop being a mere accessory.
Comment: #9
Posted by: LouisaFinnell
Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:53 PM
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