Dear Annie: Two years ago, a good friend died of a heart attack. His wife, "Sally," asked me to help her get rid of his things, which I was happy to do, and I soon found myself mowing her lawn and doing chores around the house.
Here is the problem: I am a happily married man and father of four. I have been married for 25 years and love my wife dearly, but I have also come to the conclusion that I have fallen in love with Sally.
I have no desire to divorce my wife or start an affair, but I struggle very hard with the fact that I am in love with two women. How do I resolve this? — Heart Split in Two
Dear Split: Please understand that the love you feel for Sally is not the same as what you feel for your wife. Men often have too little experience acknowledging how much they can love a close friend, so when it happens with a woman, they conclude that it must be romantic in nature. But that's not necessarily true.
It's understandable to confuse this loving friendship with the loving intimacy you have shared with your wife for 25 years, and it's OK to care deeply for Sally. But you should not do anything to encourage the friendship to be more than it is or to jeopardize your marriage. That means limiting your contact with Sally, inviting your wife to join you when you go to Sally's house and perhaps even introducing Sally to available men so you don't act as if you are filling that role. If you are unable to do that, it's time to back off completely.
Dear Annie: I had sole care of my mother, and when she died three years ago, I wrote the death notice for the newspaper. I inadvertently left off my brother's stepson. This was not intentional, and I regret the error. I sent two emails to my brother and his wife apologizing.
Unfortunately, my sister-in-law told my grown children that her heart was broken. She has not spoken to me since. I never thought a rift like this would happen in our family. I have now given up on this relationship. I feel I have done all that I can to apologize. Do you agree? — Unforgiven
Dear Unforgiven: Mistakes like this happen all the time, and it certainly seems as though your sister-in-law is determined to hold a grudge. But two emails don't really qualify as a heartfelt, sincere apology. Please go see her in person. Perhaps your brother or one of your children could facilitate the meeting. Tell her how sorry you are for excluding her son and that you certainly didn't mean to and would correct it if it were possible. Also tell her how heartbroken you are by the family rift, and ask whether there is anything you can do to fix it. If she still won't speak to you, then we would say you have done all you can.
Dear Annie: You two need a lobotomy. "Still Grieving" complained that she received a sympathy card and the person added her dog's paw prints. There is nothing wrong with that. My dogs are my kids. I sign their names to everything, and I add a paw print for each of them. I actually put food coloring on their paws.
You are obviously ignorant when it comes to the true love between pets and their owners. My dogs also eat off of my dishes and at the table on their birthdays. — PO'd in New York
Dear New York: Adding your dog's name to a sympathy card is tolerable. But a paw print is inappropriate, and we'll stick to that whether you like it or not. We wouldn't add a child's handprint (with food coloring, no less) to a sympathy card, either. Please stop thinking of yourself, and consider the person on the receiving end. But we'll consider the lobotomy, thanks.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. 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.