Dear Annie: I met "John" six months ago and truly love him. I moved four hours away from my friends, family and kids to be with him. He says he loves me and appreciates that I gave up a lot for him.
The problem is, he has a female friend who calls him a lot. John assures me he isn't hiding anything. As a matter of fact, I've met her a few times. Her daughter plays softball with John's daughter, so they sit together at the games. She's going through tough times with her husband.
Maybe I'm just jealous, but it bothers me that she calls him every other day. I've discussed it with John, and he says my reaction concerns him because it means I have trust issues. I feel there's something between them, but I can't pinpoint it. Am I over-thinking this? I don't want to have these doubts, but I also don't want to get hurt.
- Flustered in Florida
Dear Flustered: It's fine for people to have friends of the opposite sex, but not if the relationship completely excludes one of their partners. Offer to meet this woman for coffee. Invite her and her husband over for dinner. If John objects or behaves differently around her, you have reason to worry.
Dear Annie: My sister-in-law always has been fashion-challenged, but this summer she has been sporting a pair of shorts that are so tiny, you can see everything spilling out of the front and back.
She recently had a baby and made the comment that she still has to wear her "maternity" shorts. I can't imagine what maternity shop would have sold those for pregnant women. This has become the talk of our family. It is disgusting to see her in this get-up. It's indecent. I can't believe my brother lets her leave the house like that, and I am embarrassed for them both.
Is there a tactful way to say something to her or my brother, or do I just keep my mouth shut? My sister-in-law is very sensitive and stubborn, and I worry I'd only upset her and make her resent me.
- Wincing in Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: Say nothing. Your sister-in-law has convinced herself that she looks sexy in those shorts, and your brother either agrees or doesn't care. If she's sensitive and stubborn, she will not take kindly to your constructive criticism and will simply assume you don't like her. Leave it alone.
Dear Annie: I would like to encourage "Ill and Lonely" to join a cancer support group. I've been fighting Stage IV breast cancer for three years. I completely understand her complaint that friends and family have been great, but after a while, the phone calls and visits become sparse. I joined a local breast cancer support group when I was first diagnosed, and it's been a wonderful source of help, understanding, comfort and fun times. When I get lonely or down, I'll call one of my support group sisters, and they will boost me up.
You can find local support groups by asking your doctor, nurse, a local hospital or other survivors or by going online. The American Cancer Society is great in setting up groups. If there is no group in her area, she can start one with the people she's met at the doctor's office or while having treatments.
It makes a world of difference to meet with other patients or survivors who have gone through this. We also have oncology doctors, nurses, physical therapists and others who occasionally speak at our meetings. You don't have to be alone when you have "brothers" and "sisters" within a support group.
- A Bald "Sister"
Dear Sister: Thanks so much for the good advice. Please know we'll be thinking of you.