Dear Annie: I am a happily married woman. I also am close to “Tom,” whom I have known for 15 years. My husband is friendly with Tom, as well.
The problem is Tom’s girlfriend. There never has been anything sexual about my relationship with Tom. He is four years younger, and I think of him as a little brother. I have done everything I can think of to welcome his girlfriend. I’ve called her. I’ve e-mailed so she can get to know me better. I’ve invited her for dinner. I’ve offered to invite Tom over only when my husband is home. None of it seems to matter. She still thinks he’s cheating on her with me.
Tom has been there during the toughest times of my life. He doesn’t drive due to a physical disability, so I’m lucky to see him a few times a month. His girlfriend sees him almost every night, but even when she’s with him at my house, she gets jealous and picks a fight. Tom does not condone her behavior, but I’m beginning to feel angry that she is accusing me of things I would never do, such as cheat on my husband.
Tom is like family to me. How can I make this woman understand that we are friends and nothing more? I’d love to hang out and have fun with both of them, but she is unwilling. Any suggestions?
— At Wits’ End
Dear AWE: Tom’s girlfriend is very insecure. She is unreasonably jealous because she cannot control the relationship Tom has with you except by eliminating it altogether. That is her ultimate goal and the reason why your friendly overtures are not working. If Tom cannot reassure her sufficiently, he will continue to distance himself until he breaks it off with her — or you. Sorry.
Dear Annie: I have a large extended family, with many aunts, uncles and cousins. We try to get together once or twice a year. My aunts and uncles usually attend these gatherings, but few of the cousins show up. I have first cousins I haven’t seen in years, and we all live within 30 miles of each other.
The children of these cousins now are graduating from high school, getting married and having babies. My mailbox is overflowing with wedding and shower invitations and graduation announcements. I send gifts to those cousins whose families I am in contact with, but I resent receiving all these announcements from cousins I never see and who make no attempt to have a relationship with me. When I receive these invitations, I ignore them. I know other family members agree with me but still feel obligated to send gifts.
How do people have the nerve to send invitations to people they never see? Do I tell them how I feel or just continue to ignore their mail?
— Related in Name Only
Dear Related: If you have no connection to these cousins, never see them and don’t particularly care about them, there is no reason to attend their functions or send gifts — unless, of course, it is to reciprocate for gifts they have sent to you.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “Guilford, Conn.,” who discovered she had been taking her thyroid medication incorrectly, which was why she wasn’t feeling any better. She was supposed to take it 30 minutes before breakfast. Her doctor had not given her this information.
I am an RN and have been taking thyroid replacement since 1962. In addition to the timing of the pill, you are supposed to take it with a full glass of water. You also should not take vitamin-mineral supplements within four hours of taking the thyroid medication.
“Guilford” is right. If you take the drug properly, it can make you function at a much higher level. Thank you for your column. You do a world of good.
Dear J.G.: We appreciate the kind words and your expert suggestions. Anyone on medication should double-check with the pharmacist to find out precisely how to take it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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.