Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Worried Hubby

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: Your column is the first thing my wife reads every morning, so I figured I'd write. An issue has come up that I'd rather not discuss with anyone else.

My wife and I are both retired. We go to the same neighborhood coffee shop every morning. We've gotten to know the owners and the other folks who go there, including "Harry," a regular. I think he has developed a crush on my wife. She thinks this is ridiculous.

When Harry comes in, he automatically sits with us, whether or not we invite him. And he always sits next to my wife. The first thing he does is give her a kiss on the cheek. Sometimes, he will put his arm around her shoulder. They occasionally carry on a conversation as if I'm not there. When it's time to leave, he will give her a kiss on the cheek, along with a hug that I feel is more than friendly.

If my wife thinks Harry hasn't been in yet, she will dawdle over her coffee and order an extra donut. Of course, when Harry's wife is with him, they sit at the counter and his behavior is completely different. He gives us a brief "good morning."

I have told my wife how much it annoys me when Harry hugs, kisses and puts his arm around her, and I'd like to respectfully ask him to stop. My wife doesn't want me to say anything. She says I'm overreacting and jealous. She says Harry is harmless and I shouldn't create a problem in our favorite coffee shop. I think she's flattered by his attention.

How do I put an end to this without causing more problems? -- Worried Hubby

Dear Hubby: Harry is flirting, and your wife enjoys the attention, but we don't believe he's a threat to your marriage. There are several ways to handle this: You can ignore it; you can stop going to that coffee shop; you can sit next to your wife so Harry cannot; you can ask him to stop flirting with her; you can sweetly explain to your wife how she undermines your trust by encouraging Harry; you can introduce yourself to Harry's wife and ask the two of them to join you.

Dear Annie: I was appalled to discover that of the 120 guests who attended my daughter's recent wedding, only 25 people gave her a gift. This is the first family occasion I have ever hosted that requires a gift, but over the years, I have given presents for countless weddings, showers, birthday parties, even second weddings. Several of these nongifters are my family members, and I am amazed at their lack of manners and deeply hurt.


I would think these people would be ashamed of themselves. What do you say? -- Mad Mom of the Bride

Dear Mom: One presumably invites people to a wedding in order for them to participate in your happiness. Of course, their participation should include best wishes for the bride and groom, and this is appropriately expressed through gifts. We understand why you are hurt, but keep in mind that people have been known to send wedding gifts after the fact. We hope they will still do so.

Dear Annie: I would like to chime in about the letter from "In the Middle," whose 44-year-old son is a full-time caregiver to his 93-year-old grandmother. The aunts in charge of the money don't want to pay him more than $250 a month.

My mother recently had to go to the skilled care section of a nursing home, where they provide the exact same service that this guy is doing for his grandmother. It is now costing us $9,000 a month. I checked around, and this is the going rate.

It sounds like those aunts are way too interested in having money left over for themselves when Mom finally exits this life. Pay the guy. -- J from PA


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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