Dear Ann: My husband works for a well-known, national company. Every year, they reward their top producers with a three-day vacation at a resort. Nice? Not really. Spouses are not invited.
This year, after much fuss, spouses are now welcome, but they must pay for their own transportation, food and their share of the hotel room. It would cost about $2,000 for me to go. We cannot afford this, so I will not be going. If my husband doesn't go, he will look ungrateful to his boss, so we have decided he must attend.
I am pleased that my husband will have this trip, but feel hurt that I will not be going with him. Who do they think takes care of the home so he can be one of the top producers of his company? Why are there no rewards for the wives? I wonder how many marriages are affected negatively by these three-day, fun-in-the-sun trips with no spouses. Am I wrong to feel this way? Frustrated Wife in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Dear Frustrated: In my opinion, spouses should be invited to accompany their husbands for these all-expense-paid, three-day outings, and the company should certainly foot the bill. What they would gain in terms of good will would make the extra expenditure worthwhile. Companies that fail to do so are being very shortsighted indeed. When the wife is kindly disposed toward her husband's boss and the company he works for, they have a much happier employee, who in turn will be more productive. Wake up, Management. You're asleep at the switch!
Dear Ann: Your column saying AIDS made you reverse your decision about telling a friend her spouse was having an affair got my attention. You say wives usually know when their husbands are unfaithful, but I'm not sure I have the "affair antenna" you insist women should have. You then go one step further and say that victims who claim they "didn't know" are in a state of denial or "not playing with a full deck." Now, according to you, not only have we been cheated on, but we are also dumb and ditzy.
My world came crashing down when I learned my husband had an affair with someone I considered a good friend. It turned out that her husband didn't have a clue, either. Trying to come to grips with my husband's infidelity, I finally realized that I did not cause the problem and that I had no control over what he did. He was going to cheat whether I was "in tune" with him or not.
I'm convinced that real friends should tell when the spouse is having an affair they perform a valuable service when they do, and you should encourage it. I wish someone had told me sooner. It would have saved me a lot of heartache. What is your latest stand on this? Should a person tell a man or woman that his or her mate is cheating? Pondering in Bloomington, Ind.
Dear Bloomington: In the past, I have said third parties should keep quiet. Chances are the wife (or husband) already knows, and is trying to cope and hold her (or his) head up. Sometimes, all the signs of an affair exist, but the spouse has chosen to ignore them. However, since affairs now bring the risk of AIDS and other life-threatening diseases, I say the spouse should be told, but a person must be absolutely, 100 percent certain something is going on.
Dear Ann: I have a friend I've grown up with. "Belinda" is a sweet person but a crapehanger from hell always the first one with bad news. Her phone calls ruin my day. If a famous person dies, she's got to tell me at 7 a.m. (like I don't have TV). How do I deal with this? Teeth-Gnasher in Nashville, Tenn.
Dear Gnasher: Tell her point-blank straight-out, "Belinda, dear, please, no more bad news in the morning. It ruins my day. Thanks for understanding."