Racing to adopt a greyhound
Dear Annie: I am about to retire. I don’t want to sit around watching TV after retirement, so I’d like to adopt a retired greyhound to keep me company. I had hoped to have him or her certified as my therapy dog.
My husband retired 15 years ago, and he has already developed retirement interests. When he is not pursuing those, he is perfectly happy sitting at home and watching television, which is fine with me, if that’s what he wants to do. His interests are exclusive to him: lunch with the guys, hanging out with old friends, that sort of thing.
My husband refuses any type of pet.
I am concerned about getting depressed with nothing to do. I know I can volunteer, but that is not my first choice.
We had originally planned to travel after retirement, but with the virus, and considering our ages, we don’t see that happening anytime soon. Did I mention we live in Alaska, and wintertime sports are not of any interest to me?
How do I get him to see my side, or how can I come to terms with his side? — Lonesome But Not Alone
Dear Lonesome But Not Alone: Congratulations on wanting to rescue a retired greyhound. They really need loving and good homes, which it sounds like you will provide. Now, how do we get your husband to come around to your side?
First, it takes no longer seeing this conversation as having sides. You are on the same side — creating a happy marriage where you are both fulfilled in your individual lives as well. Talk to him, quietly and calmly, sharing why this is so important to you. Have a clear plan as to how you will be the primary caretaker.
Tell him your fears of becoming bored and unhappy and how a dog has been proven to help people feel happier. Voice your opinion that he gets to have activities that are enjoyable to him, and exclusionary of you, so having a dog would be your version of this.
Marriage is about compromise. In this case, getting a dog will bring you much joy and happiness, something that I’m sure your husband would like to see. Happy wife, happy life!
Dear Annie: The letter from “Don’t Call Me Dear” reminded me of an experience I had as a 20-something female engineer working in an oil refinery. During a shutdown, an older gentleman said to me, “Little Woman, can you hand me the diamond bit in that drawer?” I was stunned. Little Woman?! Somehow, I pulled together the best response I could think of: I stood up, offered to shake his hand, and said (in a friendly way): “I’m sorry. I don’t think we’ve met.” And proceeded to introduce myself.
The reaction? He apologized, and then he and I were on a first name basis going forward. That experience taught me that, while I’m a feminist with firm boundaries, I’m better off assuming good intent.
You see, while I believe in speaking up for yourself, I also live in a state (Kentucky) where being called “honey” by the grocery clerk is not only often the norm but also kind of sweet — once I decided it was.
And when I’m not comfortable it? I introduce myself. Sometimes, I even make a friend. — Boundaries with a Smile
Dear Boundaries with a Smile: Thank you for this thoughtful example of standing your ground while thinking the best of those around you.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.