Over­whelm­ing new friend

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR AN­NIE >> My hus­band, “Bob,” and I have been mar­ried for over 30 years. I work full time; Bob is re­tired. Over the past year, Bob has be­friended a man in his early 40s, “Martin.” This man has got­ten in the habit of com­ing over to our house ev­ery day, un­in­vited, for hours.

They usu­ally stay in the garage, where Bob keeps his hob­bies. They often hang out un­til the early morn­ing hours. Some­times Martin doesn’t even show up un­til af­ter I go to bed. I feel de­prived of my hus­band’s com­pany. Martin has a girl­friend, who comes over some­times, but she’s 20 years younger than I am, and we have noth­ing to talk about.

Bob says I’m be­ing mean. He tries to help ev­ery­one and never wants to of­fend any­one. I’m a char­i­ta­ble per­son. But I feel this “friend” has way over­stayed his wel­come.

When Bob and I take time to go away to­gether, we get along fine — that is, un­less I try to talk about this prob­lem; then we end up in a huge fight. What should I do?

— Lonely and Frus­trated Wife DEAR LONELY >> Bob “never wants to of­fend any­one,” but he doesn’t seem to ex­tend that courtesy to you. Though it’s healthy for him to have friends, es­pe­cially in re­tire­ment, I agree that he should set bet­ter bound­aries with Martin. It’s not OK for Martin to come over unan­nounced, at all hours of the night. I’d be peeved, too.

But I think the core is­sue here is not that Bob is spend­ing so much time with Martin; it’s that he’s not spend­ing enough time with you. Put the fo­cus on that rather than tell your hus­band he can’t hang out with his friend (which would prob­a­bly only make him want to do it more). Set aside a weekly date night that is yours and Bob’s alone.

My guess is that if you feel more con­nected to Bob and feel as if you’re get­ting enough qual­ity time to­gether, Martin’s an­tics will be a lot less ir­ri­tat­ing.

DEAR AN­NIE >> My girl­friend and I are in a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship. We met in grad school. She fin­ished up in the spring and got a job up north, about a 12-hour drive away, while I stayed be­hind to fin­ish school. We de­cided that we would try to make a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship work for this year and that then I would find a job near her.

A good buddy of mine hap­pens to live in the same city as she does. Re­cently, he sent me a screen­shot from a dat­ing app that shows you other peo­ple in your area who are look­ing to hook up. It was my girl­friend. She had cre­ated a pro­file on the app and posted flirty pho­tos. I rec­og­nized one of the pho­tos from a beach trip we’d taken, but she had cropped me out of the pic­ture. Her “About Me” sec­tion said, “New to the city! Look­ing for fun!”

I im­me­di­ately called and con­fronted her. She acted sur­prised by my anger, say­ing she was just us­ing that app to make friends. She got an­gry and said it hurt that I didn’t trust her. By the time we got off the phone, I felt bad for doubt­ing her. That night, I had a pizza de­liv­ered to her place as an apol­ogy.

But now I’m hav­ing sec­ond thoughts. Am I be­ing para­noid? — Won­der­ing

DEAR WON­DER­ING >> You should have sent that pizza to your buddy. He saved you a lot of trou­ble and an ex­pen­sive move for a woman who clearly doesn’t think much of you — first cheat­ing on you and then dis­re­spect­ing your in­tel­li­gence with a whop­per like that. Time to crop her out of the pic­ture as she’s al­ready done to you.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http://www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]

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