Dear Annie: I live in the same town as two friends from high school. One of these friends married right out of high school and started having children. My other friend and I both went to college together, and then she also married and started her family. Neither of these women had a career outside the home. I, however, worked in a professional capacity until retirement, and I did not have children.
We are now in our 60s. I love both these ladies and am glad we live in the same town. Here's the problem: When I am with either friend individually, they will talk about a variety of topics with me, which I enjoy. However, when we get together as a threesome, these two mostly talk to each other about their children and grandchildren and I am left out of the conversation. Changing the subject doesn't work, and I don't enjoy feeling like the third wheel.
Any suggestions on how to deal with this touchy matter would be appreciated. -- Left Out
Dear Left Out: You've known these women for decades. It's OK to be frank, as long as it is done in a lighthearted way. The next time you get together, say with a smile, "Laurie and Louise, you have five minutes to discuss your kids. I'm happy to know what's going on with your families, and I'll even look at the latest pictures of the grandchildren. But more than that leaves me out of the conversation. We have so many other things to talk about. OK?"
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Dear Annie: This is in reply to the letter from "Nervous Nellie," whose fiance never stops looking at other women.
Twenty five years ago, I was in the same situation. After seeing my fiance make eye contact with and smile at other women numerous times, I had enough. Up until then, I had never said a word about it, knowing that he would turn it around and tell me I was insecure.
One day we were in a large supermarket aisle, when, as I turned to speak to him, I saw that he was ogling a woman in the checkout line. And she was returning his smile. I went up close to him and whispered in his ear, "If you EVER do that again, I will yell as loudly as I can that you are impotent and unemployed, and that she can have you if she wants. (Part of that was true.) He knew by the fire in my eyes that I meant it and the disrespectful behavior ceased immediately.
Nonetheless, within months I decided that I didn't need this loser and broke our engagement. But that incident is still a sweet memory. -- Empowered Myself
Dear Empowered: We love it. Especially the part where you broke off the engagement. If this man required a major warning in order to treat you with respect, he wasn't worth your time and you figured it out before you married him. Good for you.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.
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