Dear Annie: The past four years of my marriage have been difficult. My husband and I have made many poor financial decisions, and we also have intimacy issues.
I’m an artist. When our kids were young, I chose to do freelance work so I could stay at home. My husband has a steady job with a 9 to 5 workday. On the side, he is a talented musician and gets low-paying gigs a few times a year.
Over time, my husband’s band equipment has become worn, and he has hinted that he’d like to upgrade. While I would like him to be happy, we are not in a financial position to invest in a hobby that offers little return. On the other hand, I am extremely well paid for my artistic craftsmanship and would like to invest in some technical equipment to further my career. If I am paid more, we could then finance my husband’s future musical purchases.
Unfortunately, my husband’s response to not getting what he wants has been immature. He attacks my choices, and I resent the lack of respect for the sacrifices I’ve made to raise our kids. The kids are older now, but it seems that I’m not married to an equal partner, but rather a perpetual teenager.
I love my husband, but I feel stuck in a relationship that is unhealthy in more ways than one. Your thoughts? — Got the Blues
Dear Blues: It is not unusual for couples in their 40s and 50s to reassess their lives, wondering where their youthful dreams went. Like you, your husband may feel stuck, believing he could have had a career as a musician instead of the one that helps provide for his family. Please don’t turn this into a standoff. Have a gentle, loving conversation. Ask for his input. But if money issues are an ongoing problem, it might help to enlist a third party with better financial acumen to referee.
Dear Annie: Why do women announcers who appear on the TV news and weather programs dress so trashy? They wear miniskirts up to their rears, bare arms and shoulders, and low necklines showing everything. The men on these same programs always look professional, with nice suits or sport jackets. I’ve heard people say that a woman’s knees are the ugliest part of the body, and yet they wear short skirts above the knees. Why don’t their bosses stop all of this vulgar dress? — Not a Prude
Dear Not: What makes you think the women are selecting this clothing? More likely, their bosses, the producers of the shows, encourage the women to dress this way because “sex sells.” In all fairness, national news announcers, both male and female, tend to dress more professionally. But if your local news has the men in suits and the women in low-cut blouses and miniskirts, it is sexist, and you should write the station and say so.
Dear Annie: You sometimes receive letters from grandparents who feel sad because they don’t receive thank-you notes or phone calls from their grandchildren.
Following retirement, my husband and I moved 12 hours away from our children and grandchildren. After upgrading our cellphones so we could text and take pictures, we quickly reaped the rewards. The teenage grandchildren always respond within minutes when we text them (keep it brief). They often send thank-you notes via text. And the little ones love FaceTime (on their parents’ phones) and interact with us in real time. We have set up photo album streams that we can all access to share pictures.
We were really amazed at how much this has kept us connected with family, and it is well worth the added cost. It’s a big step for many grandparents to take, but most providers offer free instruction, and once you get into it, it becomes easy and fun. — A Happy and Well-Connected Grandma
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.