Dear Annie: My husband and I recently purchased a new home. It took us a while to reach this point. In the course of trying to purchase, we were offered help by a good friend, "Mary," who lives 1,500 miles away. Mary referred us to her mortgage lender, also 1,500 miles away. We engaged the lender, who worked hard, but things didn't move as quickly as we needed, and we lost a large deposit on the house, along with the costs of an appraisal and inspection. This was money we could ill-afford.
We recently found another house and used a local mortgage lender. Everything went smoothly, and we'll be moving soon. Here's the problem: Last month, Mary called to chew me out because we didn't use her mortgage person. I told Mary that we lost a lot of money due to that person's inability to help us, and we've moved on. Mary was mean and nasty and hung up on me. I haven't heard from her since.
Mary and I have known each other for 30 years, and we've been through a great many of life's ups and downs. She's like a sister to me, and our husbands get along well, too. I was astonished that she would be so obtuse about what we'd been through. Mary often reacts like this when she's angry, but I wonder why it's up to me to make the effort to fix things. Should I reach out to her? It saddens me that such a longtime friendship would end this way, but I'm ready to let it go. - Arizona
Dear Arizona: Mary is what we call high maintenance. She is emotionally demanding, cuts you off when you don't put her first and then forces you to do the hard work of repairing the friendship. Over time, this behavior becomes tiresome, and we don't blame you for having had enough. Mary lives 1,500 miles away. Consider distancing yourself from the friendship, bit by bit. Let Mary make the next move, whenever that is, and you can maintain the level of friendship that best suits you. In the meantime, please try to find new friends in your current location.
Dear Annie: "Heartbroken" says she is in her mid-50s and hasn't been intimate with her husband for several years. She wonders whether her husband just doesn't care anymore. My wife could have written that.
For the past three decades, my wife had no problem putting our relationship last behind the kids, her job, her mother and her hobbies.
Now that the kids are grown, her mother has died and she's retired, she's dumbfounded as to why we don't have a closer relationship.
I made a commitment "until death us do part," and I'll keep it. But after trying unsuccessfully for years to build a deeper relationship (including counseling), I developed other interests. If my wife is feeling our relationship is emotionally empty, it's because this is the relationship she built. You reap what you sow. - Moved On
Dear Moved On: We understand why your marriage has reached this point, but your unwillingness to give your wife another chance indicates that you are punishing her for the damage she caused. It is counterproductive to let the marriage slowly die rather than ask your wife to come with you for counseling to repair things. We're talking about the rest of your life. You can still have a rewarding marriage, but you both have to work on it. Now is your opportunity. Finally.
Dear Annie: I found the letter from "A." so refreshing. The mother told her son that certain events require a personal phone call instead of a text message, and then he did it. What magic did she use? Communication. She told him calmly what she wanted, it was reasonable, and he did it.
People can't read your mind. Stop acting affronted and insulted or stewing in your own replay of past events, and communicate calmly. - Not Karnack
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.