Dear Annie: How can a 62-year-old woman be so confused at this stage of life? My domestic partner and I have been together 12 years, and our relationship has recently become shaky.
“Jack” is very outgoing. Men and women are attracted to him for his conversation and wit. One of our neighbors is almost 10 years younger than I am and is showing an interest in him. She often pops into our home for a visit — but only to see Jack. She does not talk to me at all.
Jack and I have always trusted each other, but I didn’t care for this budding friendship. A gut feeling told me to look at his e-mail, and I found one message where he invited her to our home, saying “we” love her company. I certainly don’t love it.
I told Jack I read his e-mail and asked why he invited her. He said, “It was stupid.” Not the most reassuring answer. Do you think he wants to be involved with her? — Unsure and Worried
Dear Unsure: We think he likes the attention, but it doesn’t mean things will go any further. Some men are highly susceptible to flattery, and women who flirt with them feed their ego.
Talk to Jack and ask him to stop encouraging this woman. Then, instead of being insecure about his fidelity, use this as an impetus to kick some fresh life into your relationship.
There’s no reason you can’t flirt with Jack and give him a little extra affection. All relationships benefit when one remembers how to make the other person feel important.
Dear Annie: “Depressed and Overwhelmed” is in one of those Catch-22 situations — depressed, isolated, struggling to maintain a career at a time when employers look for any excuse to fire someone older. She’s not making enough money to pay for top-notch mental health care, but too much to qualify for free care.
She may also have some other conditions that are contributing to her depression. For instance, I found out late in life that I have adult ADHD.
Once that was treated, my intermittent depression became far easier to deal with. Other medical conditions such as low thyroid or chronic fatigue can also contribute to depression.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective, and it can be administered in a group setting that significantly reduces the cost. She should also actively deal with her isolation by doing volunteer work and getting involved in community activities. She may have to drag herself to these things, but it’s well worth it. — Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.