Dear Annie: I am a 27-year-old woman who, until recently, was happy and secure. Out of the blue, my husband of two years decided he did not want to be married and is refusing any counselling or reconciliation efforts.
I am overwhelmed with grief and frightened about my future.
My family is helpful, but one family member drives me crazy. Almost every time we speak, she mentions something to do with my weight, like, “You used to be so pretty,” or “You could be such a beautiful girl,” etc.
I am not terribly overweight and, in fact, have lost a few pounds recently.
Now that I’m going to be single, I realize I should focus on looking better, but my self-esteem is low enough right now, and I don’t need to be reminded of the incredible rejection I have just been through.
What can I say to this horrible relative to make the torment stop? – Not That Fat
Dear Not Fat: This insensitive relative has no idea she is insulting you, so you must enlighten her.
Say calmly and forcefully, “Aunt Betsy, I know you don’t mean to be rude, but it is very cruel to constantly focus on my weight.
I would appreciate it if you would stop making such terrible, hurtful comments.”
She’ll sputter and make excuses, but it should do the trick.
Dear Annie: I had been seeing “Clark” for a year, and he told me everything a woman would want to hear. He made promises he never kept, and I continued to believe his lies. Eventually, he drained my savings.
I finally wised up and told him to start paying me back. He said he would, but it never happened.
I cancelled his cellphone (which I was paying for) and sent messages to all the phone numbers listed on my bill informing them they could no longer contact Clark on my dime.
In return, I got responses from dozens of women he had been flirting with.
When one of these women told Clark she had spoken to me, I got an angry call from him saying he would make my life miserable. Frankly, there’s not much more he can do to me.
My question is, do I have any legal options? If I take him to court for the money, I know he still won’t pay it.
Is there any way to get him on criminal charges?
I need some kind of closure to move on. –Humiliated and Used
Dear Humiliated: As far as we can tell, you gave Clark this money willingly, which means he didn’t defraud or trick you and, therefore, didn’t do anything criminal.
If you sue him in civil court, you might win since he made a verbal promise to repay you. If he doesn’t have the money, it won’t help, but if he does, the lawyer will take the necessary actions (garnish his wages, attach his assets) to make him responsible for the debt.
We can’t guarantee you will win, however, so you also need to find the internal strength to chalk this up to a learning experience.
As the saying goes, living well is the best revenge.
So, for now, if you can, just sit back and try to enjoy life.
The sun will come out again tomorrow or, if not, the day after that.
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.