Dear Annie: My husband, “Clark,” and I have been married for 47 years. We both have Facebook accounts. A year ago, Clark became friends with “Toni,” an ex-girlfriend from his late-teen years. I am my husband’s third wife. Toni has been married at least twice, maybe three times. I’ve lost track.
The problem is, Clark and Toni were chatting and “poking” each other regularly until his sister told him it was not fair to me. Clark claimed that he stopped chatting. However, the poking has continued.
A few months ago, I sent Toni a friend request. All of Clark’s friends from his hometown have friended me right off, but Toni didn’t respond. Clark then asked her to do it as a favor to him. She then sent me a friend request, with no mention of being sorry for ignoring my previous one. I agreed so as not to be rude. When Toni’s birthday came, I wished her a “happy birthday.” Our birthdays are in the same month. She ignored mine.
Last week, I taught Clark how to delete a poke, and he did. But this week, they are doing it again. Since he was the one who did the delete, he must have been the one to start back up. When I asked him, his response was that nothing is going on and Facebook chatting and poking is no big deal. Clark has even commented that he would like to meet Toni, with me, just to see what she looks like now.
Toni is not the only female who regularly pokes Clark on Facebook. I have told him that liking and sharing posts is less personal than pokes, chatting and messages. Now he is talking about creating a Twitter account. Am I overreacting, or should Clark be more considerate of my feelings?
Dear Torn: This boils down to trust. Something about Toni is ringing a lot of bells in your head, and Clark should respect this by limiting contact. However, he doesn’t seem to have done anything untoward, so he objects to your reaction. Try calmly explaining why Toni bothers you and why it is important that his behavior reassure, rather than alarm, you. He needs to know this is moving into risky territory.
Dear Annie: I’m 19 years old and work at least 60 hours a week. I recently found out that I am pregnant. The father does not have a job and lives far away. I want him involved with our child, but not if he can’t help support the baby. Am I being too harsh?
— Hard Worker
Dear Hard: Yes. A parent’s importance should not be based on his income. “Support” is more than money. It can include taking care of the child and being emotionally supportive of the mother. Unless the father is a drug addict, alcoholic or abuser, your child’s relationship with him is necessary and beneficial. But the father should be actively looking for work so he can pay child support, and you should hold him responsible for it. In the meantime, please don’t deny either of them the positive aspects of this relationship.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” who complained about out-of-state relatives who try to take over caregiving duties.
Here’s our family wisdom when visiting or offering to help a primary caregiver: Think of yourself as the “assistant caregiver,” and simply ask the primary caregiver what, when, where and how. Do your best to do what they would do. Don’t make suggestions or change routines. Just give them the peace of mind of knowing that they can leave for a while and everything will be done exactly as they would have done it. This attitude is helpful and comforting to the primary caregiver, who certainly doesn’t need any additional stress.
— Been There, Too
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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