Dear Annie: This is my second marriage. My husband has two children from his first marriage and a stepdaughter. His first wife had several affairs. I feel it may have been due to his lack of support for her. He was always working and never had time for his wife and kids.
We married five years after his divorce. My husband and I are happy, and he is devoted to me. But he continues to work a great deal, and I am often lonely. I know it would help to have my own outside interests and hobbies and to go out with my friends, but I miss the closeness I had with my first husband. We did everything together.
The problem now is his kids. We have not spoken to them in nearly three years. When his oldest granddaughter sent us a graduation invitation, I sent her a text thanking her for inviting us. She wrote back, "Who is this? I do not recognize the number." That really hurt me. I gave nine years of my life to that little girl, trying to be a good step-grandmother. I wrote her back and said, "Once upon a time, you called me Grandmommie. I still love and miss you." I have heard nothing more from her.
My husband's children have no respect for their father because he was always gone. I tried to overcome that for many years, but it went sour. What can we do to get these problems corrected? Should we send a graduation gift? — Hurting in Oklahoma
Dear Oklahoma: First, while your relationship with these children seems distant, let's not mix apples and oranges. Unless your phone number is programmed into this grandchild's phone, your name would not come up when you texted, and she would not have known who was contacting her. You can call the children and grandchildren directly and ask how to warm up the relationship. But we can't promise anything will change unless your husband becomes more involved, and he does not seem inclined. But please send a graduation gift. It's a start.
Dear Annie: I am at my wits' end. I have tried every angle imaginable to stop an employee from showing her butt crack. I even bought her a long T-shirt. She wore it once and says she can't find it.
Am I wrong to think that she should not be allowed to dress this way? She says that I am the only person who has a problem with it, but I'm simply the only one willing to speak up. Firing her is not an option. — Fairfield, Conn.
Dear Fairfield: If there is no consequence for dressing so unprofessionally, there is no reason for her to change her clothes. Dress codes should be enforced. We recommend you talk to whoever is in charge and ask that a dress code be established and consequences spelled out — including termination for someone who repeatedly and deliberately refuses to adhere to the requirements of the job. This girl undoubtedly believes her exhibitionism is appealing. But it is actually a source of ogling and amusement at her expense. She should save it for after hours.
Dear "No Hypocrite in Paducah, Ky.," who is addicted to alcohol, criticized family members for being addicted to food. He said, "How is it more legitimate to grab a doughnut when under stress than to pour myself a cocktail?" There is a HUGE difference.
I grew up in a home where both of my parents were alcoholics. Alcohol changes a person's behavior toward others. Food does not. I would much rather have had obese parents than emotionally damaging alcoholics. I wouldn't have needed so many years in therapy. — Lynn in Louisville
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2013. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.