Annie's Mailbox: Sorry, just can't be around my husband's ex -
Published Friday, August 23, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 2:08 pm
Annie's Mailbox: Sorry, just can't be around my husband's ex

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 20 years. He has four children with his ex-wife, who lives nearby. The divorce was not pleasant, and my husband still has a lot of resentment. Neither of us is comfortable around the ex.

So how do I explain to my 30-year-old stepdaughter, “Susie,” that when we have gatherings with his kids, we don’t want to include their mother? Three of their kids live in the area and can visit Mom whenever they wish. When Susie comes into town, all of the kids gather at their mother’s, and she never invites us. That’s fine. But for some reason, Susie feels that since her mother is single and “alone,” she should be invited to our home whenever Susie is in town.

Until now, I’ve been nice about it and included her. But I recently found out that the ex has been saying hurtful things about me to the kids, who apparently don’t defend me. I’ve always made myself available for emergency calls, babysitting the grandchildren, etc. How do I handle the next visit?

No Longer So Nice

Dear No: With kindness. The ex is going to say bitter things, and when her kids are with her, they don’t defend you because it would create a problem with their mother. We urge you not to make an issue of this. They obviously have a decent relationship with you, and this should not be taken lightly. It’s also possible that Mom, with her own insecurities, is pressuring Susie. You don’t have to include her in everything you plan, but please be the bigger person and do so when you can.

Dear Annie: I’m a healthy, active, happily married 61-year-old female. I work part time, but after all these years, I find the work monotonous. I exercise and socialize at the local fitness facility, but that’s kind of same old, same old. Then I go home, do some cleaning and organizing, and end up looking for things to do.

I don’t know where I’m going or what to do with myself. My husband is a few years younger. We have different interests, so he isn’t going to be helpful. I keep an eye open for volunteer opportunities, but haven’t seen anything that’s a good fit. I know I’m lucky and am not complaining. But do you have any suggestions for me?

Montreal West Island, Quebec

Dear Quebec: First, decide where your interests lie. Do you enjoy the arts? Join a choir or theater group. Sign up for an art class or learn guitar. Do you like working with kids? Volunteer with a literacy program or at a children’s hospital. Interested in civics? Offer your time to a local politician, or check city hall for opportunities to make a difference in your community. Can you help at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen? What about your local library or chamber of commerce? Try or the Red Hat Society ( You may need to try out a few places before you find something that’s a “good fit,” but please don’t give up. Many places would welcome someone with your energy.

Dear Annie: “California” wondered whether it was rude to read his hosts’ newspaper before they woke up. I, too, like to read my paper with my morning coffee.

Here’s my solution: When I travel, I take my home paper with me. I then buy a local paper at a gas station, convenience store or some place in the town I am visiting. I tend to buy additional papers from surrounding towns. Since the people I am visiting usually subscribe to only one newspaper, they enjoy reading the additional ones I bring. That way, I have several papers to read at my leisure, and my hosts have theirs.

Another Early News Addict

Contact the writer:

It's a pursuit of pastel at Spring Lake Park's Easter egg hunt
Want a different garden? Turn to your local greenhouse, nursery
How they met: An Omahan's 50-foot fall was best thing to ever happen to him
Annie, I'm telling you checking out nude bodies online is not porn
How to transform your wall or deck into hanging herb garden
Iowa West Foundation aids Joslyn Art Museum's repairs
Benson Hall of Fame to honor 8 graduates, 2 former educators
Omaha library staffers recommend these books
The World-Herald's weekend event recommendations
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
What's going on this weekend?
Dining notes: Dario’s has a new spring menu
Archives: So many wonderful old Omaha photos
Annie, drop some bereavement knowledge on these yuppies
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87
UNL students make dancing robot drones
Annie, this woman I paid for sex years ago is now a co-worker
Saying ‘stranger danger’ doesn’t always work, instead be direct with your child
Momaha: 10 ways to boost a kid's confidence
Tips, recipes on how to spice up your traditional Easter ham
Momaha: A lesson in balance for mom after ballet
Dubious list says Omaha's the second-most-spirited city in the U.S., whatever that means
Live Well Nebraska: Bellevue man named one of hottest fitness trainers in America
Annie, my husband walked out on me, and now I love his brother
Review: ‘Heaven is for Real’ leaves it to viewer to interpret its story
< >
Cleveland Evans: From a moody nickname to the Ninja Turtles’ bestie
In honor of April 1, this column’s about Murgatroyd and Amphelisia.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
Jump to a blog:
< >
We Love Weddings blog
W.E. Love Weddings is about everything Omaha and everything weddings by the editors of Wedding Essentials Magazine.
Weddings and engagements
Share your exciting news with your community by placing an announcement today.
Inspired Home Omaha magazine
Sign up today to get the latest edition of Omaha's best magazine for local living, home entertainment, fashion and travel!
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »