Dear Annie: My wife of 50 years told me that a longtime friend has called her twice trying to have phone sex. I exploded! She told me not to say anything because it would ruin our friendship with this couple.
I confronted him anyway and told him he disrespected my wife, me and all women in general. He did not deny what he had done. Frankly, I can’t blame him too much, considering his wife of 50 years.
Still, as far as I’m concerned, he totally crossed the line, and our friendship is over. My wife, however, continues to associate with both of them. What do you think?
-- Mad in the Bluegrass
Dear Mad: We think you threw out quite a zinger about the man’s wife. We don’t care what she is like. It doesn’t justify his hitting on another woman, especially one who is married to a good friend. That’s a double betrayal.
We will give him one possible excuse, however. If he’s been married for 50 years, he is probably in his 70s or older, and it’s possible he is displaying early signs of dementia, which include loss of inhibition and personality changes. Please suggest he see his doctor for a checkup. As long as your wife has no interest in this fellow and wants to remain friends with his wife, it’s probably OK. If you notice changes in that direction, however, don’t hesitate to address it.
Dear Annie: I had to respond to “Venting in Oregon,” the couple that was disgusted and annoyed by the noise from the neighbor’s two toddlers.
I had a noisy, screaming young child myself at one time. I spent hours every day dealing with the continuous screaming and chaos. It was a real party to take him to public places, especially when I had to go to the grocery store. I never knew what kind of meltdown would ensue. I only knew that others in the vicinity would make comments about me, my parenting style, my child’s behavior and anything else unkind and negative that they could think to say, always making sure it was loud enough for me to hear.
I was trying so hard, and it truly disturbed me to be criticized openly by strangers who had no idea what my days and nights were like with this child. He was finally diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder and began to receive appropriate therapies. It turned out he was brilliant once he could focus properly. He is now an absolutely lovely person who is well liked and respected by people who know him.
So to “Venting in Oregon,” if you can’t help your neighbors with their children, at least try to be as patient and gracious as you can manage. No one really knows what goes on in someone else’s home.
-- Been There, Done That
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org