Dear Amy: I am nearing 70 years old.
My friends and family consider me a very smart woman whom they frequently seek out for advice. Now I need some advice.
I married in my teens, was divorced in my 30s and remained single for more than 20 years.
I dedicated those years to my children, and they are fine, family-oriented, responsible adults.
In my late 50s I met a man whose company and conversation I enjoyed. He's tall, dark, handsome, financially responsible and passionate.
Five years later, in our 60s, we got married. We've enjoyed our life together.
Unfortunately, recently I found out that my husband's first wife is the beneficiary on his pension. He says that because of government intervention in their pension plan, this can't be changed!
Amy, I am hurt and distraught.
I don't want to live my golden years worrying that I won't be able to take care of myself financially if my husband dies first.
He has no life insurance, and he gets my pension if I die first.
What bothers me the most is that he acts like he doesn't care!
I want to leave him, but I don't want to make such a big change at this age.
I don't look at my husband the same way anymore. I can't think clearly about this. Any suggestions?
Upset: Your husband might have agreed to this beneficiary arrangement as part of his divorce settlement with his former wife. You should confirm whatever legal obligation he has made to her.
Because of your ages, you two should see a lawyer and/or accountant with expertise in estate planning. You should have full knowledge of all of your mutual assets.
I am not a lawyer, but I simply do not believe that your husband cannot change beneficiaries. With my own retirement account and company pension, it is very easy to do. And as your husband’s legal spouse, you might automatically be considered his beneficiary. You need to find out.
Dear Amy: Do dinner hosts have an obligation to warn guests that they are sick and contagious?
My dear, very close friend, "Sandra," hosts a dozen or so family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner each year.
We have an adult daughter at home who is bedridden with a severe, debilitating chronic illness that makes her very fragile. My husband and I care for her, with help from hired caregivers.
Sandra knows how fragile my daughter's health is and what lengths I have to go to every day to avoid bringing home germs that could make her gravely ill. Even a cold would probably require her to be hospitalized.
This Thanksgiving, when we arrived at Sandra's house, she greeted us by saying, "Don't get too close, I have a cold."
Shortly thereafter, her husband entered and announced how sick he was. Everyone glanced around uncomfortably.
I said, "Wouldn't you feel more comfortable in bed?" He responded that he didn't want to miss Thanksgiving dinner.
We stayed about an hour, socializing but trying to avoid contact with the hosts. When I saw the chairs crowded around the dining table, I realized that there was no way to avoid being in close contact with Sandra and her husband.
I knew in my gut that the risk was too high, so I quietly, politely and apologetically told Sandra that we had to leave, and why.
My husband says I should've made up a fake excuse, but, upon reflection, I wonder whether Sandra should've called me that morning to let me know that she and her husband were contagious, giving us a chance to bow out in advance.
Cold Carrier: You did the right thing by exiting politely and by telling the truth regarding your reasons. Given the severity of what you are coping with, why should you make up a fake excuse?
Yes, “Sandra” should have called you in advance, giving you the option of making an informed choice about whether to attend. But understand that as the hosts of a large dinner, “Sandra” and her husband were probably distracted that morning and might have simply forgotten the impact of their health on your family.
Dear Amy: I want to weigh in on whether friends and family should disclose knowledge of an affair to the affected spouse.
I went through this. After years of being cheated on, I discovered my husband's infidelity and we divorced. I felt quite betrayed that others knew and didn't tell me.
Recovered: I agree with disclosure, handled gently.