Husband too friendly with former wife

I have been with “Ted” for a year. He is a wonderful man, and I love every moment we spend together.

Dear Annie: I have been with “Ted” for a year.

He is a wonderful man, and I love every moment we spend together. But he talks to his ex-wife on a regular basis. She left him after a 13-year relationship, and they had no children together. Yet, he still tells her he loves her and talks to her exactly the same way he talks to me.

Ted says I have nothing to worry about, but it frustrates me. He tells me he doesn’t want to lose her friendship and will always love her because she’s been in his life “for so long.” But what about me? — Confused Girlfriend

Dear Confused: The question is not the friendship. It’s whether or not he’d go back to his ex if she asked. Ted should examine his own feelings and decide whether he is fully committed to you or not. You don’t need a man who is pining for a lost love. If he insists you are the only woman in his life, ask him to please cut back on the frequency of his calls to the ex for the sake of your relationship.

Dear Annie: A woman down the hall from my apartment has two dogs. When she takes them out, one of them actually screams as it passes by my door. This happens at 3 a.m.

I contacted the building manager, and he assured me that he talked to her about using a different exit door, but she is still using the same one. It seems she waits until that poor little animal screams its discomfort. Is there anything I can do? I’m tempted to contact the Humane Society. — Tired of the Screaming Dog

Dear Tired: You can call the Humane Society, but what sounds like screaming isn’t necessarily the same for dogs as it is for humans. And the woman is probably not “waiting” until the dog gets upset. At 3 a.m. it takes a few minutes for her to wake up.

Still, she should not be walking by your apartment if there is another exit for her to use. This is your neighbour. Knock on her door, politely, and invite her over for a cup of coffee. Be friendly. Then ask if she could use the second exit when she walks the dog at night because it disturbs your sleep. If that doesn’t help, go back to your manager or call the owner of the building.

Dear Annie: I think you were off base with your response to “Confused,” whose fiancee wants to hyphenate her name. If she won’t take his name, why bother getting married?

Men have so few prerogatives in this modern world of diversity, why is this tradition falling? And her name is probably her father’s name anyway. My wife said if she were to marry me today, she would hyphenate her name. I said that would be a total of 15 letters, plus a hyphen.

Next time, instead of speaking woman-to-woman in your answers, you might want to solicit some male input. — My Two Cents’ Worth

Dear Two Cents: Women used to take their husband’s surname because they were considered their husband’s property. Many women continue to do so because they respect tradition, prefer the husband’s name, don’t want to confuse the children, like to give the impression that they are subservient to their husbands, whatever.

Women who keep their maiden names, hyphenated or not, often do so because they already have established professional careers, the husband’s surname is difficult to pronounce or spell, they wish to retain an independent identity, and so on.

A recent trend is to combine both surnames and create a new one, an idea that has merit, although it undoubtedly gives genealogists fits. When men are expected to take their wife’s surname upon marriage, we’ll be happy to ask for their input.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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