Editor’s Note: Annie Lane is off this week. The following column was originally published in October 2016.
Dear Annie: My husband, “Bob,” and I have been married for over 30 years. I work full time; Bob is retired. Over the past year, Bob has befriended a man in his early 40s, “Martin.” This man has gotten in the habit of coming over to our house every day, uninvited, for hours.
They usually stay in the garage, where Bob keeps his hobbies. They often hang out until the early morning hours. Sometimes Martin doesn’t even show up until after I go to bed. I feel deprived of my husband’s company. Martin has a girlfriend, who comes over sometimes, but she’s 20 years younger than I am, and we have nothing to talk about.
Bob says I’m being mean. He tries to help everyone and never wants to offend anyone. I’m a charitable person. But I feel this “friend” has way overstayed his welcome.
When Bob and I take time to go away together, we get along fine — that is, unless I try to talk about this problem; then we end up in a huge fight. What should I do? — Lonely and Frustrated Wife
Dear Lonely: Bob “never wants to offend anyone,” but he doesn’t seem to extend that courtesy to you. Though it’s healthy for him to have friends, especially in retirement, I agree that he should set better boundaries with Martin. It’s not OK for Martin to come over unannounced, at all hours of the night. I’d be peeved, too.
But I think the core issue here is not that Bob is spending so much time with Martin; it’s that he’s not spending enough time with you. Put the focus on that rather than tell your husband he can’t hang out with his friend (which would probably only make him want to do it more). Set aside a weekly date night that is yours and Bob’s alone.
My guess is that if you feel more connected to Bob and feel as if you’re getting enough quality time together, Martin’s antics will be a lot less irritating.
Dear Annie: My girlfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship. We met in grad school. She finished up in the spring and got a job up north, about a 12-hour drive away, while I stayed behind to finish school. We decided that we would try to make a long-distance relationship work for this year and that then I would find a job near her.
A good buddy of mine happens to live in the same city as she does. Recently, he sent me a screenshot from a dating app that shows you other people in your area who are looking to hook up. It was my girlfriend. She had created a profile on the app and posted flirty photos. I recognized one of the photos from a beach trip we’d taken, but she had cropped me out of the picture. Her “About Me” section said, “New to the city! Looking for fun!”
I immediately called and confronted her. She acted surprised by my anger, saying she was just using that app to make friends. She got angry and said it hurt that I didn’t trust her. By the time we got off the phone, I felt bad for doubting her. That night, I had a pizza delivered to her place as an apology.
But now I’m having second thoughts. Am I being paranoid? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: You should have sent that pizza to your buddy. He saved you a lot of trouble and an expensive move for a woman who clearly doesn’t think much of you — first cheating on you and then disrespecting your intelligence with a whopper like that. Time to crop her out of the picture as she’s already done to you.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! For information about Annie Lane’s debut book, wisit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.