Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Overworked in Ohio

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: For the past seven years, I've worked for "Joe" and his assistant, "Nancy." Nancy recently took a four-month leave due to stress and anxiety. During her absence, Joe and I went to lunch a few times and dinner on one occasion. Nothing romantic happened. I planned to let Nancy know at the time, but didn't think it was important enough to send an email. I left her a voicemail to call me and hoped we'd get together during her leave. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance.

When she came back, Nancy accused me of "swooping in" and taking over Joe. I have tried talking to her, but she's angry that I didn't tell her during her leave. I explained that I tried, but she never called me back. She claims I crossed her territory and now can't be trusted. She believes I was plotting all along. I also suspect that she is spreading rumors about me, saying I want to sleep with Joe. That's not true.

I am trying my best not to let this bother me. Joe has spoken to her, but I don't have any idea what he said. The problem is, it is extremely uncomfortable in the office now. Although I love my work, I may need to look for a new job.

It upsets me that someone could be so cruel, even though I tried my best to be supportive during her leave. Any suggestions for coping with Nancy? - Co-worker

Dear Co-worker: Nancy seems very proprietary toward Joe, and unless they are a romantic couple, he should set her straight. Her behavior is unprofessional and disruptive. But you are not entirely blameless. Having lunch and dinner with your boss could be misconstrued, and you were well aware that this would bother Nancy. You should have made a greater effort to speak to her during her absence.

Apologize sincerely for unintentionally stepping on her toes, reassure her that you have no interest in Joe, and then let her make the next move. If time does not alleviate the situation, you may opt to take it up with human resources.

Dear Annie: My husband is retired, while I still work four days a week. He hires someone to cut the grass, but I trim the bushes, pull the weeds, wash the windows and do all the housecleaning and laundry. He will help cook because I don't have time and he likes to eat.


So what does he do all day? He hangs out with his friends, goes for a walk or to the gym, attends Bible study classes and visits the sick. I think maybe I should get sick and see if he will visit me. -- Overworked in Ohio

Dear Ohio: While it's admirable that your husband visits the sick, he apparently believes that retirement means he is free from all obligations except those he willingly chooses. This is unfair to you. First try talking to him about it, explaining that you see no reason to have two jobs while he has none. Tell him that pitching in and doing his share will help your marriage. But you also are taking on more than you need to. If you can afford it, hire someone to do the more difficult, time-consuming chores. Leave his laundry where it falls, and let him handle it. You can make choices, too.

Dear Annie: "Disgusted in Louisiana" took issue with your response to "Desperate Housewife" that all couples need to tend to their marriages and flirt with their spouses. I am sorry to hear how unhappy she is.

I have been married to the love of my life for 50 years. Yes, perhaps the passion from long ago is gone, but we flirt, snuggle and have "date night," and my heart still flutters when he enters the room. I cannot imagine my life without him. Growing old together is exactly what we treasure. -- Happy in El Paso


"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




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