Annie's Mailbox: Moving On Without Him
Dear Annie: I am 74, slim and in perfect health. For the past six years, I have been living part time with "Fabio," my 81-year-old Italian boyfriend. I have supported him through lung cancer and other medical problems. Now he has decided he needs someone 60 or younger to entertain him.
A year ago, Fabio secretly joined a singles group. He attended house parties, bowling groups, theater jaunts, etc., and I had no idea. When it was his turn to entertain at his house, he made all of the preparations alone and did not invite me. Your readers ought to beware of lovers who claim they don't answer the phone when you call at night because they don't hear it ringing. It's quite possible they don't hear the phone because they aren't at home.
Fabio sees nothing wrong in what he is doing. He says he thinks of me as his wife and loves me. But, Annie, why would a man who has a companion who loves him and takes care of him try to destroy the relationship? -- Moving On Without Him
Dear Moving On: This isn't about rejecting you. We think Fabio is feeling his mortality and, like many men, imagines that being with younger women will help him cheat death. He expects that you, as a dutiful, caring "wife," will put up with it. Some women would, but usually because the marriage is sacred to them or provides financial support. Because this isn't the case with your relationship, you are free to move on and find someone who better suits your idea of fidelity. It's possible Fabio may someday regret this breach, but we wouldn't wait around.
Dear Annie: I'm having a problem with my next-door neighbor. She is older, can be fun to be around and has a kind heart. The dilemma is that she also can be extremely mean-spirited and vindictive if she does not like someone. She embellishes the truth to the point where she is telling bald-faced lies and ruining reputations.
How can I handle her without becoming one of her targets? -- Ms. Hyde's Neighbor
Dear Neighbor: People like Ms. Hyde need to be the center of attention, and the way they do this is to create friction, which generates interest in what they have to say. It would help if you show less interest when she gossips, saying nicely that you much prefer when she talks about books, movies, herself, whatever than when she discusses others. Then change the subject, asking her a question that necessitates an adjustment in her focus. Be attentive to her. Compliment her when she does or says something kind. And in speaking to others, when you have the opportunity to correct a misimpression she has given, do so.
Dear Annie: Here's another thought regarding "Best Friend in Trouble," who is pretty sure her best friend's husband is cheating on her.
I've always believed when you come across a situation like this, you don't say anything to your friend. Instead, let the husband know that you are aware of his behavior and that if he doesn't 'fess up, you will tell her. Give him the choice to tell her before you do.
Annie, even though you are right in presenting the possibility that the wife already knows, if the friend tells her, she still risks losing the friendship. Put the husband on the spot -- it's his mess. If he doesn't step up to the plate, then you can consider how to present this to your friend. Saying that if you were her you would check it out implies you are smarter than she is because she hasn't noticed. -- P.
Annie's Snippet for Veterans Day (credit President Dwight D. Eisenhower): "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose."
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.