Dear Annie: Is there a polite way to tell family and friends that you don’t want a Christmas gift? My wife and I are getting up there in years. If we need or want something, we buy it. All we really want is quality time with our family members, not useless gifts. – Salem Ore.
Dear Salem: It is perfectly OK to tell your family and friends that this year you’d like nothing more than a gift of their time. Don’t make comments about how useless their material gifts would be. Say only that at this point you cherish visits with the important people in your lives. If these same people choose to buy you something anyway, please accept it graciously, say thank you, and then donate it to charity.
Dear Annie: “Young and Stuck’s” husband mirrors the distancing behavior of my husband, which led to our divorce. Now, more than 60 years later, I have read of similar behavior in descriptions of concussion victims, particularly athletes in contact sports.
At the age of 16, my husband played high school football and had two concussions. As he grew more distant in our marriage, I noted his glassy, fixed stare and flat expression. After our divorce, he married several more times and went through bankruptcy. “Stuck” needs to get her husband in for a neurological exam and find a good counselor for herself. – Also Stuck and Poor
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