Dear Annie: My husband, “Sam,” and I are retired. Two weeks ago, we ran into one of Sam’s former co-workers while out shopping. He seemed quite happy to see her.
They kissed hello with a peck on the cheek — no big deal. I told Sam to stay and talk and I’d continue shopping.
When I got to the next aisle, I saw a neighbor and we began chatting. From where I stood, I could see Sam and his friend.
At one point, she leaned close to him, took his hand and gave him another kiss, which was more than a peck. She also held his hand a lot during their conversation. Then she wrote something on a piece of paper and tucked it into Sam’s shirt pocket.
When I finished shopping, they were still talking. This woman treated me like I was invisible. In the car on the way home, Sam said only that they were catching up on office gossip.
At home, Sam took his shirt off and hung it in our hall closet before going upstairs. I immediately grabbed it, and sure enough, her e-mail address was on that piece of paper in his pocket. I said nothing and put the shirt back. Soon after, Sam came rushing downstairs and took the shirt with him. When I next saw it, the paper was gone.
Sam has not mentioned the note. In all the years we’ve been married, we’ve never kept any secrets from each other. I feel so betrayed. How do I handle this?
— Feeling Betrayed
Dear Betrayed: Give Sam the opportunity to be honest. Tell him you saw this woman slip something into his pocket and you’d like to know what it was, since he hasn’t bothered to mention it.
If he tells you the truth, you can talk about how this makes you feel. If he lies, however, let him know you are aware it was her e-mail address, and ask him what, exactly, he thinks he’s doing.
Dear Annie: Our beautiful daughter-in-law has one major fault. She is a careless smoker.
She has put hundreds of burn holes in their furniture, carpeting, blankets and throw pillows. We worry that one day she will start a fire. Her parents are concerned, as well.
I have told my son he should insist she smoke outside, but he says every time he brings it up, she gets defensive, and he doesn’t want to start a fight. They have an 11-year-old daughter witnessing this. What can we do?
— Tonawanda, N.Y.
Dear N.Y.: Tell your son he should be willing to start a fight over this because his daughter’s welfare is at stake.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (usfa.dhs.gov/smoking), almost 1,000 people are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials every year. Your daughter-in-law needs to care enough about her family to discipline herself.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “No Locks,” the 20-year-old who feels her privacy is being violated by a mother who barges into her bedroom without knocking.
This is an adult woman with two jobs who still cannot afford to move out. No doubt Mom and Dad still support her at least a little, probably covering laundry, gas, water and electric use, as well as a roof over her head and a room to call her own.
She should either tolerate with grace the impositions her parents have laid on her, or quit buying clothes, cell phones and jewelry and save her money to get an apartment.
If she were my daughter, I would not only be overseeing her private life, but her bank account and closet, too.
— Loving Parent of Four
Dear Parent: We believe an adult child is entitled to some privacy, but your excessively intrusive methods could certainly accelerate the process of moving out.