Annie's Mailbox: Uncertain and Afraid
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our 60s and have been married for 28 years. We recently retired. My husband and I both enjoy stopping at neighborhood bars for a drink before dinner, but I've noticed that he indulges quite a lot and often starts at lunchtime. The problem is, after he has had a few glasses of wine, he begins to get a little forward with the female servers. He kisses the hand of the waitress, which I believe is his way of showing appreciation.
I support his empathy for the hard work these young women do. However, in the latest episode, he grabbed a waitress's hand and held it for what seemed to be an unnecessarily long time. I thought the waitress should have withdrawn her hand, and I asked her what she was still doing there. I did not make a big fuss, but she withdrew her hand and left, visibly upset.
I realize that I was rude, but it seemed like my husband was unaware of the consequences of his actions. Since then, I have avoided going back to that bar, but I don't know a permanent solution to this kind of embarrassment.
Should I avoid going to a bar after my husband has had one too many? That means we cannot stay at a bar longer than 45 minutes, because he drinks quickly. He gets grumpy if I try to leave too soon, because he always thinks he is fine. It also means I have to cut short my own enjoyment.
We have been lucky that we've avoided any incidents with law enforcement personnel. I need your counsel. -- Uncertain and Afraid
Dear Uncertain: Please don't blame the waitresses for your husband's inappropriate behavior. He is drinking too much to control his flirting and keep it within acceptable bounds. If he starts at lunch, it sounds as if he is developing a serious drinking problem. Don't be naive about it. Contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) for more information.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 30 years. My son (his stepson) is in his 40s and is married with two young sons.
The problem is, my husband refuses to treat the grandchildren as his own. It is awkward when I spend time with them and my husband stays home. But it also makes my son feel terrible, and it breaks my heart. I've tried everything to get my husband to feel differently, but he won't budge. It's starting to affect our marriage, as we spend less time together with the family.
I love my husband, but I'm not going to sacrifice my relationship with my son and his family. Any advice? -- Sad Mom
Dear Sad: We assume your husband helped raise your son. We are amazed and disappointed that he doesn't feel close enough to him to treat the grandchildren with more affection. Has your husband always been distant from your son? If it's a relatively new reaction, suggest that he get a thorough physical from his doctor. Behavioral changes can indicate medical problems. Otherwise, spend as much time with your son and his family as you wish. Do not make excuses for your husband. He is what he is, take it or leave it.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "No Good Solution for this Arithmetic Problem," who asked how to divide the costs for a vacation rental between three families of differing sizes coming from different locations.
I would divide half of the cost in thirds, and the other half would be divided according to the number attending. This is both a compromise and a reflection of the fact that part of the costs are per family and some of the costs are per person. -- Simi Valley, Calif.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. 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.