Dear Annie: My husband is in his late 50s and works in road construction. Every time that he is assigned to a job that lasts at least six to eight weeks, he always seems to start trying to pick up a female co-worker, usually in the age range of 25 to 35. He will buy them cigarettes and lunch and drinks and is super sweet to them. He texts them all day and always tells them how beautiful they looked that day. And to every single one of these women, he at some point says: "Ever since I've met you, I've really come out of my shell. Thank you."
I have tried to talk to him about it, but he just denies it every time, even as I quote to him the text messages verbatim. He doesn't know how I know that he does this. (I won't reveal my method here.) I don't know if it is something to worry about. Am I just overreacting? To me, it seems like emotional abuse.
I have to know, Annie, should I stay with him or dump his sorry butt? — Confused
Dear Confused: If only he really were sorry; that's the crux of the issue. He doesn't seem to have a shred of remorse. Tell him that if he wants this marriage to work, you two need to go to marriage counseling. Otherwise, he can take his shell and get crawling.
Dear Annie: What is the social protocol during a FaceTime call? For example, when a nonparticipating family member walks past the camera frame during the FaceTime call, should the viewer acknowledge the family member or simply continue the conversation without any acknowledgment? — New to This
Dear New to This: There's no protocol here, but I believe a wave and a smile are always appropriate. This allows the passerby an opportunity to stop and chat more if they'd like, without putting any pressure on them to do so.
Dear Annie: Recently, you've published a number of letters from older folks who say they are lonely and forgotten. I don't doubt their feelings, but I want to tell you my experience with my older neighbors. They read your column, so I hope they see this letter.
I'm a 54-year-old empty-nester who works part time as an RN. I'm a naturally caring person, and I enjoy people. When I check on my neighbors either through a phone call, a quick visit over the fence or taking over a piece of warm cake, they seem to care less. Especially an older couple across the street. The husband reminded me that his kin live in the neighborhood, and they help them out when needed. Oddly, I really don't see his kin over there much. They all work and seem really busy. I get lonely myself, but when I attempt to reach out to older neighbors, they seem a bit aloof. I'm very careful not to infringe on their personal time, and I don't show up unannounced. Remind your readers we all can use an extra friend or two, and you never know who you might need in an emergency. Thanks for letting me vent. — A Neighbor in the South
Dear Neighbor: Perhaps these neighbors get the sense you're condescending to them with your warmth, and so they act defensively. Hopefully, in time, as you make it clear that you'd like a good neighborly relationship in which you help one another, they'll come around. In the meantime, your letter reminds us all not to guess at one another's intentions or get too defensive when someone wants to help. We might be doing that person a favor by allowing them the chance.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]