Dear Annie: I am in a 14-month-old relationship that is rapidly falling apart. I consider this relationship serious.
"Clara" is in her early 60s and several years younger than I am. After the first three months, we began discussing marriage. We talk on the phone every day and see each other twice a week. I take her out for dinner and a movie, and then we return to our respective homes. We don't have sex, but we sometimes sleep in the same bed.
The problem is, Clara periodically runs errands for her former employer. He often takes her out for lunch, and she never tells me when this happens. She says she doesn't like to be asked where she's going or when she returns. I've told her this makes me uncomfortable, but she says she needs the money. Clara never dresses up when we go out. But a month ago, she arrived at my house in high heels and fishnet stockings. When I asked why she was so dressed up, she said she had been to the doctor and wanted to make a good impression.
Who dresses like that to see a doctor? What do you think? — Not Entirely Sure
Dear Not Sure: We think Clara isn't ready for the relationship you want. Her behavior indicates that she isn't fully committed to you. She doesn't feel you are entitled to know where she is, when she'll return or who she is with. These are perfectly OK behaviors for someone who is unattached, but we assume that isn't what you are looking for. You don't need a partner who makes you feel insecure and suspicious. We suggest you cut Clara loose or make it an open relationship where you each see others.
Dear Annie: My husband is a minister and is frequently called on to do funerals and weddings. Funerals often take up two days, including a night of visitation at the funeral home, as well as the actual service the next day. It also involves driving to the cemetery, which is far away. Weddings take up just as much time with rehearsals, ceremonies, receptions and photographs.
Too many times, my husband is not paid a dime for these services. The funeral home gets paid, and so do the people coordinating the weddings. Why is it OK not to compensate the clergyperson?
The practice in our small town is not to set fees for these services, so my husband is at the mercy of whatever a person chooses to give. Please print this so people will be aware of the appropriate way to thank a pastor for his services. — Frustrated Pastor's Wife
Dear Wife: Whenever payment is optional, some people will choose not to pay. If your husband has an assistant, that person can "set" prices by telling folks that a fee for a funeral or wedding ranges from Price A to Price B, depending on what they choose to give. Or your husband could print up sheets with information on planning the event and include "suggested remuneration." But, yes, people should offer to pay the officiant, no matter who it is.
Dear Annie: Here's my advice for "Grandma's Doing Her Best," who asked where the bride's divorced parents should sit.
I was devastated when my husband left me to marry the "other woman," but two years later, I found a wonderful guy myself. When my daughter married, she had two great dads, and we didn't want tension to spoil her day. We split the costs, her stepmom was invited to the bridal showers, and we all shared the front pew. Little did I realize that my ex-husband was going to die shortly thereafter.
I'm so glad we took the high road. Now the stepmom and her new husband are wonderfully important to my children. One never knows what life holds in store. Act with integrity. — All's Well
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.