Both spouses need to do their fair share
Dear Annie: Eight months ago, I left a job that paid very well. My wife of 15 years has never had to work, and she has lived a very comfortable lifestyle. However, recently, we and our 8-year-old daughter moved to Florida, where I have been unable to find a good-paying job. It is at the point where I may have to find a weekend job to make enough just to pay the bills.
I have asked my wife to find work, even if it's twice a week during the evening, in order to help out. She has no interest in working, and the topic has turned into arguments. The pressure is all on me, and we are eating up our savings. This is affecting the way I feel about my wife. I hate to use the word "lazy," but it's what I'm thinking. What do I do? Going Broke in Sarasota, Fla.
Dear Sarasota: We're a little confused. If you didn't have a job waiting in Florida, why did you just pick up and move? Still, since you are already there, you must make the best of it.
Your wife should be doing her part to make sure your family is solvent, but you cannot force her to work outside the home. We recommend you handle the family finances and put her on a strict budget, so she understands that the economic situation is not the same as it once was, and this entails sacrifice. If the arguing persists, you might want to look into marriage counseling to find out why your wife doesn't seem to consider herself at all responsible for her family's financial health.
Dear Annie: I'm dating a man a few years older than I am. He was divorced two years ago, and I have never been married.
The problem is, every time we go out, "Jack" runs into someone who invariably asks about his ex-wife. This happens even after he introduces me as his girlfriend. These conversations make me uncomfortable.
Jack tells me that he and his ex-wife do not get along, and he has no interest in speaking to her unless it is about their son. Yet he still tells these people whatever he knows about her. How can I let them know their questions upset me? Would it be rude for Jack to say he doesn't want to discuss the ex-wife in front of me? Frustrated in Minnesota
Dear Frustrated: You are making too much of this. Jack's ex-wife is part of his life because they share a child. Her name is going to come up in conversation, and there's no point taking it so personally. Over time, Jack's knowledge of his ex-wife's comings and goings will be so limited that he can honestly respond to such questions, "I don't know what my ex is up to. You'll have to ask her." That should take care of it.
Dear Annie: Thank you for printing the letter from "Wisconsin Reader." Hooray! Someone is speaking up in favor of closed-captioning.
The volume is not the problem. Our family is not hard of hearing, but we use the captions all the time. In fact, for some shows, we buy the DVDs in order to have the captions. Why? Because too many actors do not speak clearly and the background noise is often louder than the dialogue.
My husband will not watch my favorite show because they not only do not speak clearly, but the picture is so dark you can't see their expressions. Whatever happened to that obsolete word, "elocution"? I guess it went out with Marlon Brando. Westlake Village, Calif.
Dear Westlake: A dark picture can sometimes be corrected by adjusting the contrast and brightness on your TV screen. But we agree that many actors mumble, thinking it is more realistic -- which it may be, but it also is inaudible.