Dear Annie: My husband of four years insists on keeping a picture of his cat as the screensaver on his cellphone. Occasionally, he'll switch it out for a photo of one of his kids, but the cat always comes back as the "top dog." It's never a picture of me.
"Fluffy" also enjoys the top priority in other areas of our life. For instance, the day I had major surgery, my husband dropped me off at the front door of the hospital and then took Fluffy to the vet and spent the day with her. I am not ranting about some minor grievance. I was in surgery for seven hours, so this was serious.
The cat gets better treatment than I do and a lot more affection. If it weren't for my allergies, Fluffy would be sleeping with us. Even so, I've awakened to find the cat's rear end next to my face. I find this disgusting. I even have to wait to use the bathroom to get ready for work, because my husband and Fluffy are having "bonding time."
I do not feel this is normal behavior. I think it's an unhealthy relationship with a pet. I have attempted to discuss this with my husband several times without success. He has had Fluffy for six years and obviously prefers interacting with her to spending time with me. Why he needs a wife, I haven't a clue. Any suggestions? - Fluffy's Competition
Dear Competition: We agree that this seems to be an unusually close attachment. The screensaver is the least of your problems. The fact that your husband would rather console his cat while you are undergoing a seven-hour surgery indicates skewed priorities. And the "bonding time" in the bathroom is raising all kinds of questions. What, exactly, are they doing in there that you cannot use the room?
In any event, your husband is more attached to Fluffy than he is to you and values her companionship more. This is unlikely to change.
Dear Annie: We recently buried my mother and held a service in celebration of her life. There was a visitation one hour prior to the service. I cannot count the number of people who came through the line and said, "I bet you don't know who I am" or "I know you remember me" and then stood there grinning while they waited to see whether I could guess their name.
Annie, my sister and I live out of state and hadn't seen these people in more than 20 years. When I couldn't recall their names, they acted hurt.
Please, folks, at a memorial service, just put out your hand, introduce yourself and say how you knew the deceased. You are precious to come and pay tribute to anyone who has passed away, but do make it easy on a family that is grieving. This is a stressful time, and those who tried to make us play guessing games only made it harder.
Also, if you have a story you want to share, please remember that the time for the visitation is limited. Instead, consider calling a week or so after the service. I'm lonely now and would love to hear your remembrance. - R.
Dear R.: Thank you for reminding people that a forthright and simple approach is best. People often become awkward and uncomfortable when confronted with those in mourning and sometimes blurt out insensitive things.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Feeling Helpless," whose friend screams at her husband nonstop. That could have been me. I yelled at my husband at the top of my lungs because he made me so angry and frustrated. The reason was that he would check out every woman he saw. It didn't matter that his teenage children were with him.
I finally survived by ignoring his behavior. I just considered that he was a jerk (and still is). - Hope for the Helpless
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.