Dear Margo: Hey, Handsome. Why Are You Here?

Margo Howard’s advice on how to beat the green-eyed monster

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

Freebie Annoyance

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 Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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56 comments so far.

  1. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #2 – I’m with Margo. You MUST post the house rules and call out the culprits when it is clear they are the ones violating those rules.
    The success of the show Hoarders is rooted (IMO) far more in the fact that millions of Americans can relate to these stories than simply voyeurism on our part. People can be pigs. People can live quite happy lives not picking up after themselves or dusting. Live in homes with a layer of filth that they walk by everyday all day and not even notice it.  I personally would not be as understanding as letter writer #2. I would have told those I loved point blank “You can’t use our home anymore unless you can assure me it will be returned to me in the clean state it was in which you received it.”  I find this type of disrespect for someone’s property unacceptable.
    Letter #1 – Becky….poor Becky. This is a tough one.  Sometimes a duck is just a duck. And sometimes it’s a chicken.
    What I mean is, I am a big believer in listening to that little voice inside of you. I don’t know about you, but in my life I run into problems each time I don’t listen to that inner voice. From big decisions in life to small ones, we have a whisper that tells us to pay attention. Some may hear it louder and more clearer than others, but make no mistake about it, it is there.
    The problem for you as I see it is, is that nagging voice in your head that is telling you everything may not be okay a sign warning you of potential pit-falls or is it indeed jealously? You say he has not given you any reason not to trust him, but what does that really mean? Women all over the world are betrayed by the men in their lives and they never saw it coming.
    A healthy dose of skepticism in this case is justified. I personally would never be attracted to someone younger than myself, but I have to say this Becky, you could have the same problem with a man your age or older. It’s not about his age, it really isn’t. What if (my husband in my mind) George Clooney was your guy? Because he is older than you – you wouldn’t have any pangs of jealousy? I think you would.
    It’s all about being secure with who you are and what you have to give your guy. Are you being a good lover, friend and confidante? Are you communicating well with him? Are you his best friend? And conversely is he all of that to you? And does he have a good relationship with your kids? If the answers to all of the above are yes, I say enjoy it. Enjoy the relationship but keep your eyes, ears and heart open for any warning signs.