Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for three years. It’s a second marriage for both of us. We are in our 50s.
Here’s my problem: My husband still keeps in close contact with his ex-wife. I understand that a certain amount of communication is necessary because they have grown children together. But I recently found out that he sent her money for her car loan and bought her a pair of sneakers, and I saw a text message in which he asked whether there’s any jewelry in particular she’s been looking at. He also commented that he thinks of her often.
I feel betrayed. I keep in touch with my ex when it comes to the kids, but that’s as far as it goes. I also tell my husband when I’ve contacted my ex and what the conversation was about. My husband is closemouthed about everything, including his kids. I constantly have to pry out of him how they’re doing and whether he’s heard from them. I receive short, nondescript answers.
My husband is a kind and generous man, but I think this is too much. What do you think? How do I approach him about it? — Second Wife
Dear Wife: The fact that your husband is closemouthed about his children is probably irrelevant. Many guys are slow to share that type of information. But he should not be buying his ex-wife shoes and asking whether she wants jewelry. Please don’t tiptoe around this. Tell him what you found out. Ask him why he thinks this behavior is OK and why he kept it a secret. If his answers do not reassure you, the next step is counseling.
Dear Annie: For years, my mother insisted that I send a birthday card to a certain relative. In all that time of sending cards, however, I never once received one from her. I’ve decided to stop sending cards. Am I simply retaliating out of spite, or does this make sense to you? — Unsure
Dear Unsure: It depends. If this is your grandmother, please continue to send cards regardless of her lack of response. If it is a relative with health problems that might make sending cards problematic, please don’t cut her off. And if it is a relative who reciprocates in other ways (calls you, texts frequently, etc.), please continue. Otherwise, you are under no obligation to keep sending greeting cards to someone who neglects your special occasions. But do consider that it is a small inconvenience that pleases your mother and certainly does no harm to you.
Dear Annie: Thank you so much for your answer to “Too Curious,” who wanted to know a tactful way to ask about a service dog. You were absolutely right that intrusive questions about the dog’s purpose are rude.
I have a service dog for PTSD who has opened my world back up and has allowed me to function off of medications. Although my dog wears a patch that states, “Not all disabilities are visible,” people still ask why I have him. On days when my patience is in short supply, I tend to say, “I don’t like to talk about it” and just walk away when they don’t take the hint. I have to deal with ignorant adults petting my dog without asking, although children don’t usually do this. I have had people berate me for denying them photo-ops and get offended by my requests for privacy.
I’ll be printing your column on note cards to give to those who think we are here to amuse them. My canine partner is a blessing. — Wounded Warrior and Her “Therapist” with a Tail
Dear Wounded: We don’t believe people intend to be intrusive. They are simply curious. Please try to respond as kindly as you can.
Annie’s Snippet for Grandparents Day: “The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” — Sam Levenson
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.