Dear Annie: I’m a 70-year-old woman, still attractive and athletic. I have been dating “Sam,” 74, for nearly three years. When we met online, I clearly stated that I wanted to get married in the near future and that I had three cats and wanted a man who loves animals.
Sam is a nice, educated man. He treats me well, and we do a lot of different things. However, he still talks with his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend regularly. He says his ex-girlfriend is lonely and has a sad life. I could deal with that, but his ex-wife was the “love of his life.” He says they have a lot in common and she is fun to talk to. Occasionally, they see each other. I don’t like it, and neither does her boyfriend.
Sam is a great guy in many ways, but I am having a hard time adjusting to this. He insists that his ex is in his past, but isn’t talking to someone on the phone every other week considered a current relationship?
The other problem is that Sam is not nice to my cats. He treats them coldly, and this hurts me. Should I just ignore this? We do go to a lot of places and have fun.
-- Sad in California
Dear Sad: You have unrealistic expectations about Sam. He enjoys your company, but he’s not ready to settle down. He wants the freedom to stay in touch with his exes, he doesn’t much care for cats, and he’s not interested in marriage. There is nothing wrong with accepting Sam as he is and enjoying the fun times you have together. Otherwise, please stop trying to turn him into Mr. Right, and look for a man who better meets your requirements.
Dear Annie: I was hospitalized with pneumonia and then diagnosed with COPD and atrial fibrillation, for which I was put on daily meds. I am also diabetic. I am now home and taking breathing treatments and allergy shots, plus my normal heart and COPD meds. I find that I cannot tolerate strong smells: perfume, paint, fireplaces, scented candles, etc.
The problem is my husband, “Carl.” He is a smoker. He had a heart attack several years ago, and we both quit at that time. I haven’t had a cigarette since, but he started up again. He doesn’t smoke in the house, but he cannot get it through his head that when he comes in after smoking, he still has a strong cigarette odor, and I frequently have severe coughing attacks, shortness of breath and chest pain. He apologizes but won’t quit.
My doctor has suggested several options to help Carl quit, but nothing has an effect. I know my future includes being on oxygen. I am 65, and these constant attacks are wearing me down. We’ve been married for 25 years, and I love Carl. I have a difficult time thinking that he’s so selfish. Any suggestions?
-- He Just Doesn’t Care
Dear Doesn’t Care: We think Carl cares, but he’s so addicted to tobacco that he’s unable to contemplate quitting. First, ask Carl if you can go with him to speak to his doctor. Then consider an area of the house where Carl can change his clothes and/or shower before being around you. He also can try electronic cigarettes, which still pose a health risk, but his clothes won’t reek as much. But if Carl refuses to protect you from his addiction, one of you may need to leave in order for you to maintain your health. Sorry.
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