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Annie’s mailbox: Weight loss brings on jealousy

SHARE Annie’s mailbox: Weight loss brings on jealousy

Dear Annie: I've been married for almost two decades to a good husband. During most of those years, I was obese. I was a stay-at-home mom to our children, depressed and bored, and I ate a lot. The more I ate, the more I wanted to sit at home and hide from the world.

For much of that time, my best friend was my neighbor, a married man who lives next door. He has always been a father figure to me. We never crossed any lines and we never acted inappropriately. He was kind, appreciated me for who I was inside and made me feel comfortable. Everyone accepted our friendship.

I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and lost 150 pounds. I gained confidence and, suddenly, the friendship with my neighbor created problems. When I take out the garbage, my husband accuses me of doing it just to talk to my neighbor. He follows me outside and glares at me continuously. My neighbor's wife now feels threatened by me. She and her sister are openly rude. Her sister accused me of looking to have an affair.

My neighbor was one of the few people who never judged me on my appearance. Why should it matter that I am thinner? I am not out to steal anyone's husband. Do I have to give up this friendship? — In the State of Shedding Friends

Dear Shedding Friends: Your husband has become jealous and insecure — which, by the way, is not an uncommon reaction when spouses drastically change their appearance. Your neighbor's wife now sees you as a threat, whereas before she absurdly assumed her husband would not find you attractive enough to pursue. You may need to scale back the friendship long enough to give your husband time to be reassured of your love and fidelity. (Your neighbor's wife is her husband's problem.)

Dear Annie: My father and I are not close. He has rarely been there for me or my siblings. I see him a couple of times a year, and it is usually awkward. We all have a lot of anger and resentment toward him. He also makes rude comments about our mother for no reason. (He was the one to leave her.)

Since the birth of my baby, Dad has been a little better. He calls every month or two and seems to like my son. However, I don't want to include him and his family at my son's first birthday party. Neither my mother, my siblings nor I enjoy being around him. I'm afraid he'll ruin it for all of us.

I am polite to my father despite how I feel, and I don't want to hurt his feelings. It seems silly to have two parties. What should I do? — Daughter in New York

Dear Daughter: Have one party and invite whomever you wish. If you decide Dad's presence would be too stressful, ask him to come the day before or after for a special birthday dinner with only your immediate family. If that's too much, have him drop by during the week for cake and ice cream. Sing "Happy Birthday." Blow out the candles. It's enough.

Dear Annie: This is in response to "Looking Out the Window," who has agoraphobia. I am a 38-year-old mother who has had panic attacks off and on for 20 years. When they began to get so bad that I didn't want to leave the house, a friend urged me to see my doctor, who referred me to the psychiatry department of the local hospital. I had a panic attack while waiting to see the psychiatrist, but I stuck it out and am glad I did. I have been on medication for the last two months, and it has helped enormously. Just knowing I have the pills in my purse is often all I need. — Looking Out the Window Less and Less

Dear Looking: We are sure the quality of your life has improved dramatically. Sometimes all it takes is the confidence of having help within reach. Thanks for the words of encouragement.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailboxcomcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.