Dear Annie: I am a 67-year-old woman who has been deeply hurt. My husband died seven years ago, and I suffered deep depression.
My psychiatrist told me to meet new people, so I did. I joined an expensive dating service, which was a disaster. Then I went to dinner with a girlfriend in an upscale nightclub. A good-looking fellow asked me to dance, and we clicked immediately. He was charming, adorable and could dance. I was smitten.
Over the next two years, we travelled extensively, cooked together, went to the beach and had a lot in common. My family embraced him and was so happy for me. There were a few concerns, but they didn’t seem important. He told me he’d been addicted to alcohol and tobacco, but stopped using both 30 years ago.
Three weeks ago, he brought marijuana to my home and proceeded to smoke. I was appalled and told him to never bring it into my house again. He then proceeded to sneak it in the bathroom. He refused to quit and said if I want to see him, I’d have to go to his place. (His house is a wreck, and there is no place for me to sit.) We had an argument, and I haven’t heard from him since. I am shocked that the man I loved is an addict. I will never accept having a pot smoker in my life. He claims he didn’t lie about it, but I consider this a lie by omission. How could he do this after all our time together? — Hurt in Connecticut
Dear Hurt: There were probably signs during your two years together, but people in love are prone to overlook red flags, especially if they are unfamiliar with the markings. We don’t doubt that this man enjoyed your company, but his addiction comes first, and he isn’t willing to give it up for you. We know you are hurting, but please know you also are lucky to have missed this train.
Dear Annie: I am an amateur writer and publisher of a minority newspaper. It circulates all over the U.S., so I am becoming rather famous in my ethnic community.
I often receive unsolicited newly published books in my native language. The authors ask me to write some words of praise for the book. Whenever possible, I give them the positive comments I feel they deserve.
My question is, how do I respond if the book is not well written? Do I tell the author my true feelings or give no reply at all? I know how to respond in my culture, but since I have been living in the U.S., I think I should do “as in Rome.” Please help. — Cultural Stranger
Dear Stranger: You can respond with kind words that are not exactly praise (“You have clearly worked hard on this” or “I wish you the best of luck”), or you can tell the writer that you are too inundated with material to read everything, so sorry. However, although you are “in Rome,” the people who write to you expect you to respond according to your own cultural norms, so you might want to reconsider.