Dear Readers: Happy Valentine's Day to one and all, along with our special good wishes to our veterans in VA hospitals around the country. And our particular thanks and appreciation to those readers who have taken the time to send valentines, visit the vets and volunteer at VA facilities. Bless each and every one of you. You are truly caring and compassionate.
Dear Annie: I have been friends with "Lorraine" for 20 years. The friendship was maintained mostly through long phone calls and visits to her house. When I divorced and became a single parent, it was not always convenient for me to be on the phone for hours or to stop by after work. Lorraine's husband was very controlling, so coming to my house was not an option.
When I had surgery, Lorraine didn't visit at all, and I was crushed. I wrote her a letter explaining how hurt I was. She sent me a scathing reply and that was the end of our friendship. When we ran into each other last year at a shopping mall, I found out she was divorced and happier. We were delighted to be friends again.
Here's the dilemma: Lorraine likes to drink. She was pulled over for a DUI two months ago and decided she will drink only in her own home or if someone drives her. It's a smart decision, but our friendship is now back to where it was before, sustained through long phone calls and my visiting her home.
Annie, I am happily married now and enjoy being with my husband. Lorraine wants me to visit her on my own. I have done this a few times, but I am feeling resentful that we are back to this one-sided visitation. If I tell her, I'm not sure what the outcome would be. Any guidance is greatly appreciated. — Round Two
Dear Two: You probably know what the outcome would be. Lorraine has her own issues and you cannot fix them. We suggest you put boundaries on this relationship that allow you to maintain it within your own comfort zone. Visit when you want, even if it is less often than Lorraine would like. You don't need to make excuses or apologies for having a life apart from hers.
Dear Annie: My daughter is a bridesmaid in several weddings this year. All require her to fly out of town, pay for a hotel room and buy a gown never to be worn again. The real problem is the expensive bachelorette weekends, again requiring airfare, hotel and food, not to mention the bride's entertainment. When did this custom begin? She has two options: Decline the invitation to be in the wedding party, or decline the bachelorette weekend (which she has done several times).
On behalf of my daughter, I'd like to address this to all brides, hoping they will be more understanding of the stressful situations they put their friends in:
Dear Brides: While I am honored to be included as a bridesmaid and cannot wait until the big day, I simply cannot afford to participate in your upcoming destination bachelorette weekend. I am certain it will be fun, but it is not in my budget. I am saving for the airfare, hotel and dress for your wedding. I hope you understand. I love you and am happy for you. — Your Friend and Bridesmaid
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie
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Photo credit: Ken Mist