Annie's Mailbox: Husband too friendly with female friend

Dear Annie: My husband began getting a little too friendly with a female friend of ours. My husband seldom calls anyone, but he was finding reasons to pick up the phone for her.

I told him I wanted the phone calls to stop, and he agreed. But he lied. The calls actually increased. He called from our home phone, his cell phone and his office phone -- all behind my back. She also called him, but he deleted her name from our caller ID so I wouldn’t find out.

One night while I was out of town, he asked her to dinner, and she confessed that she was falling for him. He told me he decided then that the flirtation had gone too far and ended it. I know he called her twice after that, and I confronted him. He finally confessed everything and swears nothing like this will ever happen again.

I want to believe him, but obviously, the trust factor is not nearly as high as it once was. I say his behavior was cheating. He says there was no sex, so it’s not. What do you say?

— Still Angry but Dealing with It

Dear Still Angry: It was emotional cheating. Your husband may not have had sex with this woman, but he was spending time with her, encouraging her, doing things behind your back, calling in spite of how it made you feel and giving this woman the attention and affection that belong to you. Trust is easy to lose and quite difficult to regain. Please get counseling so you can work on it together.

Dear Annie: What is the proper reply to a sneeze? Many people are insulted if you don’t say some form of “bless you,” but why?

I think the one who sneezes should be saying “excuse me” for propelling one’s germs into our shared space, but I rarely hear that. And it’s worse when the person has a cold and sneezes repeatedly.

Am I really expected to issue a blessing every time someone sneezes?

What is the socially acceptable etiquette? Oh, and bless you.

— Jacksonville, Fla.

Dear Jacksonville: The origins of blessing a sneeze date at least to the Middle Ages when it was thought that sneezing expelled evil spirits or was dangerous to your body or soul. There is also the theory that it became popular as a prayer for the welfare of the sneezer during an outbreak of the bubonic plague. Regardless, throughout the centuries, it has become the socially acceptable etiquette. It is also socially appropriate for people to excuse themselves when they sneeze. One “excuse me” and one “bless you” per event is expected, regardless of how many sneezes are repeated.

Dear Annie: I’d like to add a footnote to the letter from “South Bend, Ind.,” who has Hashimoto’s disease.

The medication for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (low thyroid) must be taken 30 minutes before eating breakfast. For years, I didn’t know that. No doctor had explained it to me, and nothing was in the information package with the pills.

This medication doesn’t work properly if it is taken with food, and I had been swallowing it immediately after breakfast. I still felt tired, rundown and maybe a little depressed.

I finally saw a new doctor, who casually reminded me to take the little pill 30 minutes before breakfast. I started doing so and was astounded when, a few days later, my energy level rose dramatically. I felt terrific. The pill was working.

It is extremely important that doctors continually remind patients of how and when to take medication. The instructions really should be on the bottle, too.

— Guilford, Conn.

Dear Guilford: Doctors should discuss the appropriate way to take any new medication, but patients must be proactive and unafraid to ask questions. It also doesn’t hurt to ask the pharmacist to explain the particulars.

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