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Published November 13 2011

Annie's Mailbox: Be honest about your age

Dear Annie: I am a 44-year-old single guy with no kids, never married. I look younger than my age and could probably pass for 34.

I recently met this beautiful girl who is a senior in college. She seemed very nice and is probably 21 or 22 years old. I thought that maybe the next time I see her, I would ask her out on a date.

Is this a crazy idea? Am I way too old for this woman? If so, what would be the right age range for me? I must say again, this woman is stunning. – R.J.

Dear R.J.: Yes, 22-year-olds often are stunning. That loud sigh you hear is from all the 40-year-old women who wonder why a 44-year-old man isn’t looking at them. But to answer your questions, anyone over 18 is fair game, although your age gap adds a certain creepiness factor. A 44-year-old man is more likely to find an appropriate mate if he looks for women over 30. If you want to ask this girl out, go right ahead, but don’t lie about your age, and don’t be surprised if she says no.

Dear Annie: My fiance and I have been together for three years and plan to be married next year. My problem is that he still communicates with one of his ex-girlfriends. This would not be such a big deal, but she is someone with whom he has cheated in the past.

I’ve told him that the friendship bothers me, and he says he is also friends with her husband, and that is why they keep in contact. Her husband knows nothing about his wife’s previous affair with my fiance. Should I just let this friendship continue, or am I right to want it to end? Am I being careful or just insecure? – Confused

Dear Confused: We understand why this particular woman would bother you. If your fiance is being honest about the nature of the relationship, his contact should be primarily through the husband, and he shouldn’t mind if you are part of every conversation, email or text involving the ex. If he refuses or if you notice anything amiss, tell him the friendship is over. If he wants to cheat, he will find a way, but you don’t have to make it easy for him.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “A Formerly Trusting Wife,” who has been married to “Bill” for 43 years. She failed to listen to her friends who tried to warn her that Bill was having a relationship with a co-worker.

I was once there, but not as the wife. I was the cheating husband. I was the one who fell from grace. I led a charmed life, graduated with honors, made the dean’s list, became an Air Force officer and the president of a local civic organization and the town’s Little League. I was respected at my church and often counseled young men who were about to dishonor their marriage vows. And then quite suddenly, I became a liar and a cheat.

I lost my family, the respect of my children, my honor and my dignity. My pastor asked me to resign from the church, I was shunned by church members, and worst of all, I saw my son and my daughter cry over the heartache I caused.

The woman who was my partner in this love affair has long since moved on to another man. I live a lonely life 100 miles away from my former family and seldom see my kids or grandchildren.

I wish there were a way to restart my life. My message to Bill is to stay with your family, learn to love your wife again, make it her birthday each and every day, and your reward will be evident in the coming years. – Frank

Dear Frank: Thank you for sharing your sad story. Hopefully, it will help someone else before he or she makes the same mistake.

Dear Annie: I live in an assisted-living facility. One of the other residents is grossly overweight and has high blood pressure and bumps on his arm that bleed. Any activity leaves him struggling for breath.

I am concerned about this guy because the kitchen staff constantly gives him fattening foods that the other residents do not eat. Worse, they sometimes serve him a second helping of meals. This man does not simply eat food. He attacks it.

I don’t want anyone to get into trouble by complaining to the staff. Should I tell the head nurse or those family members who visit? Or do I say nothing until he drops dead? – Wondering

Dear Wondering: This is something for the family members to handle, so please speak to them at their next visit. However, if the family won’t be coming by for a month, or if they do nothing, we hope you will go to the head nurse and say that you’ve noticed the man eating unusually fattening foods and receiving second helpings. But please keep in mind that the residential facility may simply be doing what the man and his family have agreed upon, in which case, there’s nothing more you can do.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.