Life Advice



Tipping Across the Pond

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: After 32 years of marriage, I still battle daily with what the truth is. My husband, who I have been with since I was 17 (over 36 years), had the "shining star syndrome."

Many of his co-workers found him to be their go-to guy when having relationship troubles in their lives. Only after being told by some female co-workers who were not in his fan club of his lies, disrespect and family-changing damage did I start to connect the dots.

I've had difficult times in my life, such as the diagnosis of a chronic illness, the death of a twin sibling, the death of my mother and a stressful job. It was only after he could not handle the difficult moments that affected me that I realized his behavior was narcissistic.

My biggest heartbreak was that I thought that I was not good enough, and the same for our children. I am grateful to those who finally spoke up about his friendships with other women.

I work at saving our marriage every day, and he has become accountable. It took years for him to realize the amount of damage that he caused our young adult children. I will never be completely secure, but I am not a quitter.

I am glad I can stop blaming myself for not handling everyday realities like Superwoman. Any hurt partner should know the truth. It actually saved our marriage and our family. -- Grieving Loved Ones and Lies

Dear Grieving: Thank you for sharing your letter. So many people feel trapped in narcissistic relationships and need to hear that there is a way out of them and a path to freedom. It's great that you acknowledged all the people who helped you along the way. Congratulations.

Dear Annie: I'm here to offer the European perspective on tipping.


In Europe, there is no tipping. People are paid much better wages to begin with, so they know how much money they will earn and can budget accordingly. The price paid is higher over there so the workers don't have to rely on tips.

Did you know that tipping in the United States actually dates back to slavery? I have read that the feudal system of aristocrats helping the poor -- the idea of noblesse oblige -- has been described as the origin of tipping.

When restaurants were hiring newly freed slaves after the Civil War, they hired them as tipped workers so they could pay them next to nothing.

The United States needs to do away with this practice like the Europeans have. -- Offering a Tip

Dear Tip: Thank you for offering a history lesson and your perspective on tipping. I am curious to hear what other readers have to say, especially those whose primary income comes from receiving tips.


"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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