Dear Annie: Many years ago, my wife and I lived near my parents. After three years of putting up with their too frequent and always unannounced visits, we moved slightly farther away. My dad is the worst offender. Mom caters to his every whim. Dad is extremely selfish and really never cares whether he intrudes. After we moved, the drop-in visits became less frequent, but now the constant phone calls drive us crazy.
I have nicely explained to Mom that after a hard day at work, we turn off our landline so we can have some quiet time. I told her not to worry if we don’t answer. I also told her that if there is an emergency, she can call our cellphones. The problem is, Dad goes ballistic if he cannot reach us and immediately tells Mom to call our cellphones.
We have been married 29 years and have grown children. We wouldn’t dream of dropping in on them unannounced or constantly calling when we know they want some peace and quiet. I call my parents twice a week to check on them. They are both in excellent health. Am I supposed to account to them every single day? Why do they do this, and how can we get some peace while keeping the peace?
Dear Perplexed: You have two simple options: Either call your parents once a day to check on them and let them hear your voice, or turn your cellphones on vibrate and call them back when you feel like it. Both choices are perfectly reasonable. Many grown kids call their parents daily just as a kindness. We think it’s worth five minutes of your day to reassure your folks that you are OK — and to stop them from driving you nuts.
Dear Annie: For many years, I have used the same beautician to cut my hair. She became a good friend in the process. However, about a year ago, my hair just wasn’t “cooperating” with her cuts, so I tried a different beautician and loved the results.
Now I’m torn. I’d like to continue with the new stylist, but I don’t want to lose an old friend. How do beauticians feel about their clients when they try someone else’s styles? And how do I tell my friend without hurting her feelings?
— Uneasy About Switching
Dear Uneasy: We imagine your friend wouldn’t be thrilled to know you have given your business to someone else, although if she sees you as a true friend and not simply as a paying client, she will get over it. But why don’t you first show her your new style and ask whether she can duplicate it? It could solve the problem with less angst.
Dear Annie: I read all the responses to “Your Husband” about who is at fault in the bedroom. I’ve been married for 27 years. I am in good shape, work 50 hours a week, do a lot of the cooking and help clean. My wife works part time out of the house. Yet, when it comes to a relationship in or out of the bedroom, she ignores me. I have tried to get her to talk, but she won’t. I have tried to do little things to show her that I love and appreciate her, but she always takes them the wrong way. It makes me a little gun shy to keep asking.
Men have feelings, too. We need attention from our spouses as much as they do. I have thought about what it would be like to find a little on the side, but have resisted. There is an old saying that I once read: “A woman makes all the rules, and a man is not to know the rules. If she suspects he knows the rules, she is to change all or some of the rules.” It’s not so funny now.
— Irritated in Clarendon
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, 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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