Dear Annie: I have been dating “Stan” for five years. We are both in our 60s. When we started dating, I was absolutely certain that I did not want to get married. But Stan and I have been through so much these past few years with various illnesses and the like. We have always stood by each other, and I have come to realize that I would like to be married to this man and have said so to him.
Stan still has responsibilities to a surviving parent. Both Stan and his mom seem so dependent on each other that I feel like the proverbial third wheel. When I discuss this with Stan, there is a slight change, but only for a brief period of time, and then things go right back to the way they were, with me essentially on my own.
I don’t want to walk away from Stan, but I need more than I am getting and want to know how to get my point across. I would hate for Stan to lose out on having a wonderful life with me at this stage of our lives.
Dear Confused: You cannot force Stan to see the benefits of marriage through your eyes. His relationship with his surviving parent takes precedence over his relationship with you, and right now, Stan interprets marriage as an abandonment of Mom.
In addition, you have changed the rules midstream by wanting marriage when you initially precluded it. You would do better to absorb Mom into your life, making a commitment toward her care part of your relationship. And although that doesn’t promise marriage, it will make Stan more favorably disposed. Only you can decide whether the relationship with Stan the Man is worth keeping without the legal papers.
Dear Annie: My husband, “Bob,” rarely washes his hands after using the bathroom. My son and I are really disgusted with this behavior and worry about the lingering germs that his hands pass on to everything else he touches.
Bob claims we are germophobes, and that a little bacteria is good for you. He thinks we overdo the hand washing, getting rid of the “good” germs. I have asked him to pose this question to his doctor, but he refuses. Please help settle this argument.
Irritated in Indiana
Dear Indiana: It’s true that over-sanitizing can be a problem, but some degree of hygiene is necessary because not all bacteria are harmless. And we transfer these less helpful germs primarily through our hands, not only via contact with multiple surfaces that others have touched (or will), but also by rubbing our eyes, scratching our noses and covering our mouths with these same bacteria-laden hands. This is how easily diseases such as meningitis, flu and hepatitis can get passed around. If your husband wants to swim in a swamp to see whether it boosts his immune system, that’s up to him. But he shouldn’t subject the rest of his family to his quirks.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “No State,” whose 23-year-old cousin is now a police officer and brags that he can give out tickets to those who annoy him.
A police officer who abuses his authority not only makes himself look bad, but also damages the reputation of his department and all the other hardworking and dedicated officers who put their life on the line day in and day out. Most police officers try to do their very best in difficult circumstances. It is often a thankless job, but one we willingly accept. Trust me, other police officers do not like to see these abuses of power. “No State” should talk to this officer’s superiors.
Retired Kentucky Trooper
Dear Trooper: We suspect this cousin is all talk, but it might not take much for him to cross a line. We appreciate your counsel.
Happy Kwanzaa to all our readers.
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