He’s found more than sympathy

Dear Annie: My husband of 28 years has been having long, intimate text conversations with his father’s hospice nurse for several months while they both are caring for my dying father-in-law. My husband does this for hours every day.

I have told them that I would like one of them to stop working with my father-in-law. Neither has been willing. His whole family is standing behind this relationship and feels the two of them are wonderful for each other and a new start would be great because both are in “loveless” marriages.

It is clear to me that they want to be together. They have expressed deep love for each other and have been intimate. I am brokenhearted and want out. My marriage has always been stressful and occasionally abusive. We were hanging in there, but by a string. This just seals the deal.

Today, one sister is going to ask the nurse to step down. I no longer care and plan to move on. Should I be honest and tell them to just keep her there, since I no longer wish to continue in this marriage? I actually feel it would be best for everyone.

— Broken Beyond Repair in Ontario

Dear Broken: Then go right ahead. Your marriage is not healthy, and it sounds like it hasn’t been for a long time. We never recommend that people stay with abusers. If you would be happier without this man in your life, then let him go.

We can assure you, however, that relationships that occur during an emotionally trying time often don’t last when the situation resolves itself. When your father-in-law no longer needs this type of care, your husband may discover that his passion for the nurse has dissipated. And we won’t get into the ethics of a hospice nurse carrying on with a married family member. Shame on both of them.


Dear Annie: My husband and I got a new puppy a week ago. She’s very smart and already mostly housetrained. She is a little toy breed, tiny, fuzzy and cute with a funny personality.

The problem is, everyone who sees her wants to pet her and pick her up without asking us whether that’s OK. We love her and understand her appeal, but we are still in the process of training her. Having all of these strangers come by is distracting and could cause her to regress. After someone picks her up, it takes a very long time for her to calm down and be able to poop.

How do I tell these people, “Yes, she is very cute and sweet, but she needs to do her business right now, so could you leave her alone?” I don’t want to offend anybody, but this time is crucial to her training.

— Working On It

Dear Working: You could reword that just a bit and get your point across nicely. Put a friendly smile on your face and tell them, “Please don’t pick her up. We’re in the process of training her. She may become overly excited and could have an accident in your arms. If you can wait until she’s finished, she’ll be delighted by your attentions.”


Dear Annie: “Wondering in Clinton Township” thought it strange that her sister objects to mail addressed to “Aunt Frances.” From the time I knew how to send letters (of thanks and of conversation), I addressed those letters to “Grandma and Grandpa,” ”Aunt Carolyn” and “Uncle Bill.”

I’m in my 30s now, and I still address letters and packages home to “Mom and Dad,” and correspondence to my brothers is sent to “The Future Doctor” and to “Josh’s Dad.” Letters and cards are personal things, and there’s no reason that the address cannot be as personal as the sender and recipient would be in a face-to-face conversation.

— Longview, Wash.


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.

— Creators Syndicate Inc.

Special to The Enterprise

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