Dear Annie: I have been with my husband for six years. “Todd” has a son from a prior relationship, and I have two daughters from my first marriage. We also have a daughter together.
Todd’s ex constantly calls and texts him, and it’s never about their son, who lives with his grandparents. I say Todd should cut down on communication with her unless it’s about their child. But anytime I bring it up, he gets defensive.
Annie, this woman has caused so many issues in our relationship. She told me she’d slept with Todd two years after it supposedly happened. I found out from a few friends that this was completely false.
Todd says he feels obligated to be friendly with his ex because she was a mess after they broke up. He never lets me know when she calls or texts, but from his reactions, I know it’s her on his cellphone. My best friend, who also knows the ex, has confirmed their repeated contact.
I’m so stressed over this. Any advice?
— Lost in California
Dear Lost: The ex seems determined to interfere in your marriage. She would be irrelevant if Todd would stop permitting her to believe she has a chance to win him back. When he refuses to set boundaries, he encourages her behavior. Explain this to Todd and ask why he is willing to undermine your marriage for the sake of his ex. “Guilt” is an insufficient reason. He is not helping his ex get over him when he allows this to continue. The next step is counseling, alone or together.
Dear Annie: I had to respond to “Not a Prude” and “Another Woman Speaking Out,” who said they are disgusted with the appearance of females on national news programs wearing low-cut blouses and short dresses. All of my male friends and I have our own opinion on this subject.
There is nothing more attractive and sexy than a smart, knowledgeable professional female in today’s business environment. If that female happens to be good-looking with a nice figure and great legs, it is an asset she needs to use.
I suspect most of us guys would not watch a news program if the women, regardless of their abilities, were fat and ugly or wore only long pants and suit jackets. That’s just the way it is.
— Bob in North Carolina
Dear Bob: Well, we give you points for honesty, but your attitude is the very definition of sexist. Women in the media are role models for young girls and should look professional — just like the men. Preferring a newscast that presents women as sex symbols indicates a mindset that hasn’t evolved since the 1950s.
Women have spent decades trying to banish such old-fashioned thinking. Today’s parents would not appreciate others judging their daughters’ professional capabilities by whether they also are eye candy. The fact that some women are willing to debase themselves in order to be hired and admired by men like you does not make it appropriate or acceptable and only underscores the pressure many women still feel to conform to such outdated attitudes.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Betsey,” who said kids shouldn’t have to tell their parents when they are traveling or where. My parents also went on small trips lasting several days. Dad loved that we did not know where they were. On their last secret adventure, my brother was in a horrific accident and died. We desperately tried to locate our parents, but they did not carry a cell phone.
Bad things happen. Let someone know how to reach you. Keep emergency medical information (medications, doctors, insurance, emergency contact, etc.) with you, and give a copy to someone in case you cannot speak for yourself.
— Still Sad
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please 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.
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