Dear Annie: Twenty-eight years ago, I was married with three children. We moved to a small city and met “Jane and Doug” and their children. Jane and I became instant friends, and our children played together.
Jane began an affair with some guy she met at work, and at the same time, I became enthralled with Doug. I convinced Jane that she would be happier if she divorced, even though I knew Doug didn’t want that. Nonetheless, we all divorced, and I moved in with Doug.
Ten years ago, Jane convinced her two sons to move back home and work for their father’s company. Jane then left her boyfriend of 15 years and moved into her son’s home. This is when my nightmare began.
Doug and I are members of a social club. Doug’s sons joined the club, and then Jane joined so she could spend time with her sons. She invaded our lives. She is there whenever we are, sitting at the same table, playing pool, etc., and dancing with Doug. Jane and I do not speak. My daughter told her to get a life of her own, but she says this is her only family, and she has nothing else.
Jane is quite attractive, but won’t date anyone. Doug feels sorry for her and obviously enjoys her attention. I know she holds a grudge against me for stealing her husband.
I do not enjoy the club anymore. I’ve tried not going, but that plays right into Jane’s hands. So I continue to go with Doug. He knows how much this hurts me, but he will not be rude to Jane or tell her to go away. I’ve considered giving him an ultimatum, but I don’t want to take the chance of losing him after 28 years. I really love him. Is there any way to resolve this? — Unhappy and Frustrated
Dear Unhappy: Some folks may see this as divine justice, but no one in this scenario is innocent. Nonetheless, you pushed Doug to get a divorce he didn’t want, which means he may still have unresolved feelings about Jane. Please get counseling, preferably with Doug, and see whether the two of you can be honest enough to work this out.
Dear Annie: I am a 16-year-old girl with long hair that falls three inches past my waist. It’s something that I really like about myself. The problem is, the parents of my friends always ask whether I’m going to donate my hair to Locks of Love. I don’t want to. I like my hair the way it is, and it makes me feel guilty whenever someone brings it up. I always end up saying something like, “Maybe, I’m not sure,” which is a lie, but I don’t want to appear selfish and vain.
Next week, several classmates are going to donate their hair and have asked me to go with. What will they think of me when I come into school the next day with my hair intact? How can I tell people I don’t want to donate my hair without them thinking badly of me? — Locks of Guilt
Dear Locks: There is no way to control what your friends think, but you should not feel pressured to do what makes you uncomfortable. Simply say that you are not ready to make this commitment. And should you ever reconsider, remember that hair grows back, and the satisfaction you get from knowing you have helped someone else can make you feel wonderful.
Dear Annie: After reading the letter from “Hurting Daughter-in-Law,” whose in-laws inexplicably stopped speaking to her and also cut off contact with their 10-year-old grandson, I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of weird people in the world. — S.S.
Dear S.S.: You should see it from our end.
Happy Canada Day to all of our readers north of the border!
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.