Dear Annie: My husband and I were married for 47 years. Four years ago, he said he wanted to “find himself.” A month later, he was in Las Vegas (with another woman), using the company car and gas card. When he stopped answering his phone, I called his manager to find out where he was, and consequently, he was fired. He blamed me. I was so angry that I moved in with my sister, and he brought that woman to live in our house. Until that moment, I had no idea there was an ongoing affair.
I still have not received any divorce papers, which he told me I was supposed to sign. How can I find out if he actually filed? — Waiting in Los Angeles
Dear Waiting: In most states, divorce filings are a matter of public record and can be accessed through your local county offices. Regardless, you should get a lawyer immediately. Your husband has not proved himself to be trustworthy, and it’s important that you protect yourself.
Dear Annie: Three months ago, my husband and I received an e-mail invitation to a friend’s 70th birthday party, given by his adult children.
A month later, another e-mail arrived, informing us that each guest was expected to pay $25 for our meals at the restaurant, and that there also would be a “money tree.” I thought that was tacky, but we like this guy and still planned to go. Then, a week before the date, we received a third e-mail, saying the price would now be $32 apiece. The son said he’d be at the entrance to collect money, and for our convenience, “there is an ATM nearby.”
Annie, if the hosts couldn’t afford a restaurant, why didn’t they simply have people at their home for coffee and cake? I called the son and told him we are senior citizens and on a fixed income. I said we were sorry, but could not afford to attend. Then, the son tried to put a guilt trip on me.
I have never heard of anything so nervy! There’s a Yiddish word for it, but I don’t know how to spell it. I hope we haven’t lost a friend. — Now I’ve Seen it All
Dear Seen: The word you are looking for is “chutzpah,” and yes, the son seems to have a lot of it. Unfortunately, he’s not alone. A lot of people think it’s OK to make the guests foot the bill for whatever event they decide to have. We do suggest, however, that you send the honoree a nice card and a small gift if you can afford it. We are certain it will be appreciated.
Dear Annie: “Concerned” implies that if we don’t call our parents daily or visit weekly, we are neglectful. Why do we owe it to our parents to call and visit? I don’t owe my parents anything. If you want to see your children, go see them. If you want to talk to them, call.
My in-laws complain that we never call or visit, but they call my husband’s cellphone often, and visiting means we have to give up an entire day. I have two adult daughters, and I will never guilt them this way. They are under no obligation to keep me company just because I nurtured them. — Disappointed Reader
Dear Disappointed: Children DO owe the parents who loved, clothed, fed and educated them. At a minimum, they owe them respect and consideration. We agree that phone calls should not turn into power plays and the lines run both ways. But many people still believe in respect for one’s elders, not to mention the commandment to honor one’s parents. But we give you points for not being hypocritical about it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.