DEAR ANNIE: Twelve years ago, my son moved his girlfriend into our home. “Lena” lived with us for four years, and we treated her like family. They broke up, and Lena moved out. She then married someone else and now has an adorable 6-year-old daughter. We have remained such good friends with her that my husband walked her down the aisle at her wedding.
My son is now 30 and has never married. Unfortunately, his current girlfriend is demanding that we sever all ties with Lena, and she is causing problems for us with our son. We have tried to reassure them both that the old flame is no threat to their new romance, but it hasn’t helped.
We live in a very small town where everyone knows each other. Is it fair for us to be treated this way? — Mom
DEAR MOM: Of course not, but that doesn’t solve the problem. The new girlfriend is terribly insecure and needs to control everyone around her, including you. She doesn’t realize how her attitude damages her relationship with you. Your son permits this because he wants to keep seeing her, and as long as he does so, you will need to limit your contact with Lena in order to have a relationship with your son. We only hope he doesn’t marry this girl. She sounds like a major headache.
DEAR ANNIE: My husband is a girl watcher. I find it very hurtful that I can’t keep his attention. He is constantly looking around, and when he zeroes in on some young blonde with a great figure, he repeatedly stares at her.
I have confronted him a few times about this habit, and he denies that he is doing it. Am I being irrationally jealous? Do I need to just get over it? Everything else at home seems fine. — Want Him To Look Only at Me
DEAR WANT: Your husband’s behavior is boorish, but not threatening. Most guys look. The problem is, he is so blatant about it that it becomes disrespectful to you. If he truly does not realize he is doing this, you need to call his attention to it.
Behavior modification can work. Smile and say calmly, “I see you’re checking out the blonde at that table. She is pretty. But you are a bit obvious when you keep staring.” He may deny it, but because he knows you can tell, he should be more willing to admit that his technique needs work. It is important not to become angry or annoyed. Your goal is to get him to notice his own behavior enough to control it.
We don’t believe he means to hurt you. As long as he isn’t approaching these women and attempting to get a date, please try to be tolerant until he matures.
DEAR ANNIE: This is for “Stuck in the Midwest,” who wants to convince her husband to move to a warmer climate. She should get on Google Maps and show him the street view of all the places in her “new city.” — Tried It
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.