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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Have someone she trusts try to set her straight

Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I work in an office of about 100. About six months ago, two coworkers (male and female) began arriving at work early, together, walking each other to their offices and hanging out. Both of them are married to others.

At first, their actions weren’t noticeable, but now, more and more people are talking about the obviously close “friendship” between these two. The female coworker, “Beth,” has started dressing differently and now acts like she is Miss Congeniality. Before, she was kind of shy and reserved.

I’m not a close friend to either of them, but I do believe this is not normal behavior for Beth. She’s always bragged about what a masculine husband she has and how she is so lucky to be married to him. Yet, in my opinion, she is putting her marriage at risk by carrying on with this male coworker.

I know it’s really none of my business, but I want her to consider how her actions appear to others. Office gossip can take down even the most innocent person. Many people know Beth’s husband, and I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. What should I do? – Worried Coworker

Dear Worried: You’re right – it’s none of your business, but obviously, you are reluctant to do nothing while a coworker self-destructs. Does Beth have a friend at the office who would feel comfortable telling her that she is jeopardizing her job as well as her marriage? If not, you might warn her, as a professional courtesy, that the higher-ups in the office are beginning to notice her behavior and she might want to be more discreet. If she resents your interference, back off.

Dear Annie: I am a 55-year-old woman in my first serious relationship since my marriage ended 10 years ago. “Jim” and I see each other as often as we can, given that we live 80 miles apart. The problem? After knowing him for eight months, I am falling in love. Jim, however, is newly divorced after more than 30 years of marriage. He says we should wait and see where it goes.

We are very close and talk on the phone and e-mail several times a day. I say that if he wants a more casual relationship, he should not be showering me with gifts, taking me on expensive trips and paying so much positive attention to me.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a boyfriend, and I’m inexperienced. Do I just hang in there? Can a man really not know whether or not he’s in love after eight months? I feel like my heart is at risk, and I’m tempted to turn and run before the pain is unbearable. The joy of falling in love has been taken away as I monitor my feelings to match his. Am I just crazy? – Just Wondering

Dear Wondering: No, your feelings are perfectly understandable, but you must realize that Jim is a little skittish about making a commitment after a recent divorce. He wants to be sure you aren’t his “rebound” relationship. Create a little more space by keeping what you have but maintaining a casual attitude about the future. This will allow Jim to listen to his heart without pressure.

Dear Annie: My beloved mother recently passed away. My family has been overwhelmed with a generous outpouring of sympathy, including plants, notes and contributions. I have written nearly 160 letters of thanks.

While all these expressions of caring have been deeply appreciated, no one has offered to do the one thing we would like most: invite us over for a meal, dessert or a cup of coffee. This is what a bereaved family could really use, especially when the funeral is long over and the family feels a great void in their lives. Personal contact would be priceless at this time. – Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Dear Pa.: People often don’t realize that such invitations are welcome. Thanks for making it clear. Our condolences.

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