Hey, Handsome. Why Are You Here?
Dear Margo: I have been with my boyfriend for six months, and we are very much in love. He actually moved 150 miles to be with me. However … he is 30 and very handsome, and I am 38 with two small children. I can’t quite believe he would want to be with me, and this has translated itself into extremely painful jealousy and doubt. I have no reason to distrust him, but my jealousy is like a burning coal in my chest, and I hate it! How can I defeat it before it ruins our relationship? — Becky
Dear Beck: You definitely have to go to work on your insecurities. I would hope you could defeat your fears with understanding. Not all good-looking guys are shallow — e.g., needing a woman to be as great looking as they are so that they are an attention-getting “stunning couple.” Sometimes the movie-star-gorgeous guys fall for women who are only just this side of attractive. (Often these women have something called “personality,” and they know how to make a man feel important and valued.) Not all men judge women by their looks, and very often, emotional comfort trumps appearance. Do remember that some extremely attractive people — both sexes — have insecurities and neuroses, too.
The boyfriend you describe has basically proved he cares for you by moving. (And it’s an old canard that men are reluctant to marry women with young children; I did it twice.) In any case, I hope you can accept the idea that he is with you because he loves you and that his good looks are just an exterior facet. I can tell you that I have known some knock-your-socks-off handsome guys who don’t wear well because there is nobody home. It doesn’t sound like you have one of those. I do hope you will calm down and enjoy the romance. — Margo, sensibly
Dear Margo: We have a vacation home with a big open-door policy, and friends and family happily take us up on the offer of a free vacation when we’re not there. The problem is that some of those family and friends don’t do a good cleaning job when they leave or pitch in when it’s clear that some maintenance or upkeep is required. They mean well. It’s just that they don’t participate in keeping the house going.
It’s quite irritating when we get there afterward and have to clean up after other people or clear a path through the brush they must have gone through themselves. These are not people I can speak frankly to without causing serious rifts. How can I say, “I’m glad you like our house, but could you pitch in a little more?” without actually having to say it? — Hassled Hostess
Dear Hass: There is a great way not to say things, and that is to write them! I would post House Rules somewhere in the kitchen where they are sure to be seen. List the things guests need to do, saying basically how you expect to find things upon your return. Anyone who reverts to Old Sloppy Guest Mode should wind up off any future advisory bulletins of when the house will next be free.
If the new regulations are ignored, I would not be shy about bringing up your problem with such behavior. Such a discussion need not be confrontational … more along the lines of “Can you help me out here?” I think anyone who is so passive aggressive as to disregard your requests, in exchange for a free vacation house, is asking for a rift. People will only take advantage of you if you let them. — Margo, neatly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow