Annie's Mailbox for 9/29/2017
Dear Annie: For years, I have been attending friends' weddings, showers, graduation parties, birthday parties, engagement parties and other happy occasions.
The problem is, these things require me to give up my time and money. I don't want to make enemies, but I truly do not care that your great-granddaughter is having a baby. I don't know the girl and wouldn't recognize her parents. You might think you are sharing your joy, but in reality, you are sharing stress: yours for planning, holding and paying for the event, and mine for getting to and from, finding a card and gift, and enduring the event. Believe it or not, some people who watch a pregnant girl open 50 shower gifts can't wait for the last one to be opened so they can leave.
Is there ever a way to retire from being invited to people's parties? I know I can send regrets along with a gift. But these invitations feel like invoices. How do I get on a "Do Not Invite" list? -- Please Don't Invite Me
Dear Please: It's not that difficult. Respond with regrets, and only send gifts to those people you care about. If your friend's great-granddaughter's second cousin is getting married, you do not have to go, and you are not obligated to send a present. If you can manage a card with good wishes, that is more than enough. If they are looking only for financial rewards, rest assured they will eventually stop inviting you.
Dear Annie: I am 63 years old and have been in a serious relationship with "Frank" for four years. The only thing we argue about is his ex-girlfriend.
They are in continuous contact because several years ago he helped her with a substantial loan and she has been slowly paying it back. At first, this didn't bother me, but after reading a few of her emails asking him to leave me and be with her, she has become a thorn in our relationship.
The real problem is, Frank keeps his communication with her secret. I noticed on our cellphone bill that he was texting and speaking with her on a daily basis, and some of the texts are of a sexual nature. While I am sure nothing else is going on, this behavior is disturbing. He does not understand why this upsets me and says, "I never act on it."
I have asked him to keep their contact transparent. I have pleaded and threatened. He called her in my presence to say she is not to contact him again except about the loan, but within a day, they had switched to his business phone. She is like a shark circling, waiting for me to leave. He is the only one who has the power to stop it and chooses to let it keep happening even though he knows it hurts me. By the time you get this, I will have said goodbye. I guess I just needed to vent. -- California
Dear California: Glad we could help you sort out your thoughts. We agree that this situation is not healthy, and Frank is not behaving in a trustworthy manner.
Dear Annie: "Old in Indiana" asked how to divide up her belongings. My mother-in-law got it right. She invited her children, in-laws, grandchildren and best friends to an open house. If we saw something we liked, we were to write it down in a small notebook. Before we left, we prioritized our list.
If more than one person wanted something, Mom checked our priorities and decided who would have it. When she passed away, we each received a handwritten note from her telling us what we got and why she was happy to give it to us. We each received at least one item we really wanted, and no one had cause to argue. -- B.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. 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.