Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Sheldon” for over four years. He’s a wonderful man, intelligent and very loving.
Here’s my problem: Sheldon is a diabetic. I try to take care of him by cooking healthy foods, but he insists on eating junk. He consumes chocolate and guzzles soft drinks. He refuses to eat anything made with artificial sweeteners because he says they give food a metallic taste.
We are living on a limited budget, so Sheldon buys low-cost food items that often are high in fat. I’ve tried everything I can think of to get him to change his ways and eat healthier, but he refuses. I love him and don’t want to lose him. Any suggestions? – Concerned Wife
Dear Wife: You cannot force Sheldon to take better care of his health, and your constant disapproval provokes the response of a rebellious child. You must break the pattern. Continue to prepare healthful meals, and keep only nutritious food in the house, but otherwise, say nothing about the choices he makes.
We know it will be hard for you to see your husband develop diabetes-related difficulties, but once you realize that you are not the one responsible for controlling his health, you will be less angry and frustrated. For additional suggestions, try the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) at (800) DIABETES (800-342-2383).
Dear Annie: I work in a small office. We have a new employee who is quite nice, except for one little quirk. She inserts herself into every conversation, whether it concerns her or not, and she has all the answers. She even has gotten up from her desk and walked over to where the conversation is taking place so she can better hear what is being said.
I originally thought I was just being oversensitive, but others in the office have commented as well. Someone suggested she’s just lonely, but it bothers me when she always puts her nose where it doesn’t belong. How can I tactfully yet firmly let her know, in certain situations, her presence is not welcome? – Out of Patience
Dear Patience: This woman is new, and she wants to belong. A small office is the wrong place to have private conversations, and it is impolite to exclude her too often. If you must discuss something that she should not hear, say nicely, “Sorry, Louise, but this is private.” Otherwise, let her join in or knock it off. If the conversations are that personal, leave them for lunch breaks or after working hours.
Dear Annie: You’ve printed a few columns about noncustodial parents having problems gaining access to their children. One piece of advice I have learned over the years is never to leave the courtroom with an order that reads “reasonable visitation.” Who decides what is “reasonable”?
Many times, when left vaguely worded this way, the custodial parent can push his or her agenda, and that parent’s determination of “reasonable” carries the most weight. It is worthwhile to take the time to actually spell out which weekends, holidays, family birthdays and extended vacation periods will be granted to which parent – and to decide far in advance.
If it’s done right the first time, spelled out legally in front of the attorneys and the judge, chances are you will never have to revisit this issue in court again. Of course, after you do this, pray you have an ex-spouse who will adhere to the order of the court and work with you in the interests of the children. – S.U.
Dear S.U.: It’s that last sentence that causes most of the problems regarding visitation and custodial arrangements. Many parents do not want to spell out the specifics, either because it doesn’t allow for flexibility, or because it seems petty, but you are right. These things must be done in order to avoid misunderstandings and legal manipulations. Divorce can be plenty acrimonious, and this is a good first step.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.