Dear Annie: I have been in a relationship with “John” for more than 12 years. We have separate homes. He has never been married and has no children. I have been married twice and have five grown kids.
John still has his ex-girlfriends in his life. He used to have them clean his house, which he said was “none of my business.” He would meet them after work for a beer. He would dog-sit for one of their sons and then would volunteer to take the dogs back to their house in another town without me around. He still works on their vehicles. And one comes to his country home to get vegetables from his garden.
Although it bothers me, I never said anything to John about any of this. However, last Christmas, my son asked for permission to invite my ex-husband to the dinner to which John and my entire extended family were also invited. Since John had been to other celebrations that included my ex, I didn’t think there would be any problem, but I was wrong.
John was very upset. I then countered with all of the instances when he’d spent time with his exes. I explained that my children’s fathers will always be in my life, although I don’t have contact with them unless it involves the children. John says my children are adults, and I no longer need to have any contact with my exes, even at family gatherings. I say he has no business allowing his ex-girlfriend to come to his country home for any reason, especially considering they do not have children together. He doesn’t get my point, and I don’t get his. What is your take on this situation?
Dear Dee: We think John wants to be able to have contact with whomever he chooses, but he doesn’t want you to have the same prerogative. This is unfair. More importantly, once you have children, there will always be occasions when contact is necessary: weddings, funerals, birthday parties, even the occasional family Christmas dinner. Your children are part of your life, and John needs to accept that sometimes the ex-husbands will be included. If all contact is aboveboard and transparent, there should be no reason for jealousy and unnecessary restrictions.
Dear Annie: My husband and I cannot understand why people in church, mostly elderly ladies, want to kiss us on the mouth as a greeting. Frankly, the only person I want to kiss on the mouth is my husband. It’s not like these people are close friends or family. They are acquaintances we run into two or three times a month.
When we see them pucker up and come toward us, we want to turn and run the other way. We’ve been handling it by turning our faces, but they plant a wet one on our cheeks. We want to wipe it off, except that would be rude. Is there any other way to handle this awkward situation without hurting any feelings? They’re sweet ladies, but this is annoying.
— Turning the Other Cheek in El Paso
Dear El Paso: Some people become sentimental and affectionate with age and are demonstrative with everyone. We understand your annoyance, but there are worse things than being given a sloppy kiss on the cheek. You could try to head them off by extending your hand to shake instead, saying nicely that you prefer not to be kissed, but there are no guarantees it will dissuade them.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “Rejected,” who was terribly depressed about his wife’s lack of interest in intimacy. I could have been that disinterested woman, but I also could have been that depressed man. I found out that my Vitamin D levels were half what they should be, and I began taking supplements. After a couple of months, it made a huge difference in my energy levels.
— Feeling Better
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.